If solar power is green, can we make it greener?
Yeah, and a lot of folks are going that way. More directly to the point, is what do you do after you get a ground mount panel rack installed? Put down gravel? Mulch? Grass?
NextEra or FPL is grinding up all the pallets on which the 200,000 panels came to our neighborhood solar farm to make mulch. Ok, but, given what those pallets cost, couldn’t they send them back to the factory and get the next load of solar modules shipped on the same pallets? I think that would be a better idea, but they didn’t ask me.
Now, for actual greenness, let stuff grow under the panels. I have not planted anything in particular under mine. Green just happened, with grass and weeds starting in immediately. That’s not bad, because panels operate more efficiently when they are cooler and anything growing under there will increase cooling because of evaporation from the leaves.
Agrovoltaics is what they call combining agriculture and solar farming. One popular option is wildflowers. This keeps the panels cooler and helps with our dwindling bee population. No bees, no food, so that’s good to keep the bees happy. Some farmers mount the panels a little higher and let sheep graze underneath. That takes care of eliminating the need to mow.
I wondered about planting food under mine, but they are fairly low and I am concerned about what fertilizer might do to the steel posts. Clover or some flowering ground cover, like purslane, would be good options and I am sure my wife would approve.
Anyway, cooler is more efficient and green is cool.