Many theses have been written and numerous discussion forums have been organised about the positive effect of using solar to light up your houses. You already know how harmful using coal can be for the environment and how you can control this situation by using solar. But, wait. Do you know that when you are opting for solar, you are also contributing to agriculture and even your cattle are benefitted from your solar panels?
You read this right.
Researchers at the Oregon State’s College of Agricultural Sciences recently published a remarkable paper on the agrivoltaic influence on soil moisture, micrometeorology and water-use efficiency. The research was aimed to measure the effects on growth of multiple plants that are located under any solar module.Researchers ElnazHassanpourAdeh, John S. SelkerandChad W. Higgins found that grazing grasses were able to increase up to 90% as biomass grew more in areas partially or fully covered by solar panels. The paper revealed that it was mostly due to significantly increased water efficiency that is 328% higher. to store more water in the ground, this efficiency allows semi-arid regions with a wet winter.
The paper noted that as the researchers walked by the facility on a daily basis, they found and discovered the aberration in growth. This actually inspired them to follow up with a proper analysis. The lead researcher Dr. ElnazHassapourAdeh said that this study is part of a larger effort to understand links among ‘energy, water, and food systems.’
This study was originally performed on a six-acre agrivoltaic solar farm with sheep pasture near the university campus and the PV panels were arranged in the east-west orientated strips and1.65 m wide and inclined southward with a tilt angle of 180. While the PV panels were held at 1.1 meters above ground, the entire solar array system had a capacity of 1435 kilowatts. data were collected from the areas below solar panels and a control area outside the agrivoltaic system and the pasture below the solar panels and the control areas were in the same paddock which was actively grazed by sheep.
There were a total of eight types of grasses identified in the control pasture and five were identified in the solar farm area. Alopecurus, a long-lived perennial that thrives in moist conditions, is the most common species found in the solar panel area. These types of grasses provide succulent and palatable forage. Hordeum that has spikelet clusters and can enter nostrils and ear canals in mammals-is the most prevalent grass type in the control area. Calamagrostis, Cirsium, and Dactylis were three types of grasses observed only in the control area and are only favoured by cattle and sheep.
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