It’s an ironic fact that sun-harvesting solar panels function better when they’re not too hot. But luckily researchers have now discovered precisely how to cool them down. Building solar panels at a specific height above crops can reduce surface temperatures by up to 10 °C, compared to traditional panels constructed over bare ground, they’ve found.
The results, published in the journal Applied Energy, are the latest contribution to a growing body of research on agrivoltaics: a farming method that aims to maximize land use by pairing solar panels with cropland, thus minimizing competition between energy production and food. We already know that agrivoltaics can increase land-use efficiency, produce plenty of electricity on minimal land, and may also improve crop yields by shielding plants from heat and wind.
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