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Computer Models Show That Solar Farms Can Harvest More Than Electricity

April 9, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Stanford University scientists have developed computer models that use the principle of co-location of crops and solar panels on solar farms to harvest biofuel plants as well as electricity. The idea would work especially well in sunny, arid regions where water is scarce. Photovoltaic solar farms run on sunlight, but water is used to wash away dust and dirt from solar panels to ensure maximum efficiency. Water also dampens the ground to prevent the spread of dust. Crops planted beneath the solar panels capture runoff water used to clean the panels, optimizing the land. The plant roots help anchor the soil and foliage reduces the ability of wind to kick up dust.
Ker Than, "Stanford scientists model a win-win situation: growing crops on photovoltaic farms", News release, Stanford News Service, April 09, 2014, © Stanford University
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