July 15, 2016: Researchers from Lancaster University have come up with a detailed study with regards to the impact of solar panels on the environment, hence, paving the way for better land management and smart farming methods. The researchers monitored a big solar park, near Swindon for a period of one year. They found that solar panels cause climate change, measuring cooling of as much as 5 degrees centigrade under the panels in summer seasons. However, the effects vary on the basis of the time of day and the time of year, added the researchers.
Guideline to manage solar panels
While climate controls biological methods like plant growth rates, this study has come about as extremely significant information and can guide in understanding the ideal ways to manage solar parks. In this way, environmental benefits can be experienced along with supplying low carbon energy. Rising energy demands and the push towards low carbon energy sources have paved way for a fast increase in ground-mounted solar parks on a global basis.
This indicates a noteworthy land use alteration on a worldwide scale and has hinted towards critical calls for a detailed perceptive of the impacts of solar parks on the fields underneath them.
Impact of solar parks on environment
Dr Alona Armstrong, one of the lead researchers said that study raises some chief questions for the future. Solar parks are coming into view in landscapes, however, majority of the people are vague as to how they will affect the local surroundings. Armstrong further said that this is mainly important since solar parks take up additional space per unit of power generated in comparison with conventional sources.
This may generate implications for ecosystems and the condition of goods, for instance crops, and services, like soil carbon storage. However, prior to this study, the impact of solar parks on ecosystems and solar parks were not known.
According to the researchers, understanding the environment effects of solar parks will provide farmers and land managers the awareness they require to select which crops to grow and how best to run the land; there is prospective to make the most of biodiversity and develop yields.
This perceptive becomes even more convincing when applied to areas that are extremely sunny that may as well endure water shortages. The shade under the panels may permit crops to be grown that can’t stay alive in extreme sunlight. In addition, water losses may be decreased and water could be collected from the huge surfaces of the solar panels and employed in irrigation purposes, Armstrong added.