The benefits of solar panels for cultivation in dry areas

Cultivation in dry areas is hard and ungrateful. But solar panels can contribute their grain of sand to obtain greater performance.

From first you can think that solar panels and agriculture do not marry well. If there is room for some there is not for the other and vice versa. It is one of the problems that arise when it comes to locating solar power plants. They require a large area of ​​land to capture as much light as possible. All this surface is no longer destined for cultivation.

Solar panels and crops compete for land and also for light. Obviously you can not place plates on some wheat fields, because the spike will not grow and, in addition, its collection will be unfeasible.

However, a study from the University of Arizona points in another direction. Through a series of experiments he has shown how the combination of solar panels and crops in dry areas has synergies. Both parties benefit from each other’s existence.

The work has discovered that for certain plants, in crops in dry areas, the panels act as protection. If they were not, these vegetables would be burned by the intensity of sunlight.

solar energy by countries

The study has carried out an experiment with three variants. The place chosen has been the southwestern United States, an area where dryness is the norm and water for crops is limited. Here the shade provided by solar panels can lower surface temperatures and reduce evaporation. In addition, vegetation can also favor the plates, as it acts as a cooling instrument. In this way, its efficiency is prevented from decreasing.

The maximum use of resources

The experiment carried out contemplated three scenarios. In one of them only solar panels were installed, in another one a crop was combined with solar panels installed at a greater height (three meters) and in the third version only the crop was sown. All cultures were irrigated equally and humidity and temperature were measured.

It is not the first time that solar energy interacts with the humidity of the environment to increase the use of resources. Even prepared plates have been created to use rainwater – usually an inhibitor of sunlight absorption – in their favor.

The crops that were planted were cherry tomatoes, jalapeños and peppers. The result varied according to each crop, but in the case of cherry tomatoes the improvement was substantial. This plant grew 65% more (taking as reference the absorption of carbon dioxide) and 65% in the efficient use of water. They produced twice as much with the same amount of water.

The air was less dry under the panels and the soil dried more slowly between irrigation and irrigation. The air temperature was around a cooler degree during the day and 0.5 degrees warmer at night. All this affected the temperature of the solar panels. It was around 9 degrees lower during the day with the crop below.

Spread the love

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *