Tinted solar panels could increase crop yields

Tinted solar panels could allow farmers to boost their income by generating electricity while simultaneously producing nutritionally-superior crops.

Researchers at the University of Cambridge have discovered that the tinted solar panels could improve crop yield by 35% while also generating electricity.

The panels absorb blue and green wavelengths to generate electricity and then orange and red wavelengths pass through allowing plants to grow underneath.

Laboratory analysis of spinach that was grown under the solar panels revealed that it had a higher concentration of protein. The researchers think the plants could be producing extra protein to boost their ability to photosynthesise under reduced light conditions.

The researchers have said that this system could protect farmers from fluctuations in market places and changes in demand and it could also mitigate the risks associated with climate change.

Professor Christopher Howe from the University of Cambridge’s Department of Biochemistry, who was involved in the research said: ‘Our calculations are a fairly conservative estimate of the overall financial value of this system.

‘In reality, if a farmer were buying electricity from the national grid to run their premises then the benefit would be much greater.

‘From a farmer’s perspective, it’s beneficial if your leafy greens grow larger leaves – this is the edible part of the plant that can be sold.

‘And as global demand for protein continues to grow, techniques that can increase the amount of protein from plant crops will also be very beneficial.’

Photo Credit – Pixabay

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Pippa Neill

Pippa Neill

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