Written by Alex Parker, ESLLC 2015-2016
Perusing the internet this past weekend I found an interesting article about solar farms. Turns our solar farms can increase biodiversity in the local environment. Making solar farms a positive for the environment even before adding the benefits of clean emissions. The UK’s Solar Trade Association looked at eleven solar farms and compared the adjacent plots of land. I also read an article discussing the addition of habitats and green space into solar farms due to large amounts of unused land. Solar farms benefits from having little human disturbance which can increase biodiversity.
The original study I read looked to create a diverse ecosystem on solar farms, an area for plants, animals and birds to thrive. Besides biodiversity solar farms are also able to provide power through photovoltaic cells creating electricity for human use. Although solar is a clean and renewable energy it lacks the ability to produce a large amount of power for cheap. Setting up a photovoltaic power station costs millions of dollars and hundreds of acres of land. Once set up the station requires only small amounts of management while providing an abundant source of power. Shared solar has recently come into the spotlight. The University of Denver is looking at buying into a solar share to help cut carbon emissions.
Although solar has many applications and is an abundant resource it costs an arm and a leg to store the energy created. Batteries are expensive and would help make solar power more stable. The photovoltaic cells are made of rare and expensive minerals such as cadmium telluride. But, solar farms are a unique alternative for the future, although the technology is expensive. Future research and technological advancements could reduce the cost for solar and make it a viable source of energy for the future.