"Solar panels increase grasses for sheep and cows by 90%"
"The paper suggests it was mostly due to significantly increased water efficiency – 328%. This efficiency allows semi-arid regions, with a wet winter, to store more water in the ground, allowing for a longer growth during the growing season."
I've had similar problems with sunny areas and tried watering more. It helped a little. Then one year I tried fertilizing (manure + miracle grow) and my lawn turned completely green, even the full sun areas.
What's the specific importance of a green patch outside your home?
Even in Ontario, not particularly hot or dry, people water to prevent their lawns from turning brown in August.
Using water during a water crisis so you can have a green patch next to your driveway is the most excessive American thing I've heard today (a worthy winner in such a competitive field)
My 'patch' of grass here in Texas is thousands of square feet. The lot my house site on is .33 of an acre, which in metric is 1335 square meters. The house itself is ~3200 sq. feet (306 sq. meters) over 2 stories so the foundation is roughly 1/2 that so you can extrapolate that is a crap-ton of area left for our patch of grass.
This is in no way unusual or extravagant for the suburb I live in and provides lots of enjoyment for our 2 dogs and 6 kids.
Our Texas adapted grass goes dormant half of the year as well so the actual consumption is relatively minimal.
Our water use is fractional of a traditional manicured English garden.
While the concept of using perfectly potable water to water a lawn is a little bass-ackwards, people do do it here. I personally don't, my lawn goes dormant in the heat of summer and that's ok too.
Some cacti or other plants with waxy skin and deep roots would love the extra sunlight.
I suspect they haven’t thought about what this will do to the topsoil.
Even ignoring the ecological catastrophe of destroying the topsoil, getting the dust it produces off those panels during the summer is going to be expensive.
Planting native pollinator friendly stuff under the solar panels would address my concerns though.
If you want a concern to hold, it's that this will probably increase pioneer grass spreading during the rainy season and then then the panels will all get melted in a wildfire. You don't need to plant anything to pollinator-friendly stuff on your land in California. It shows up with a vengeance.
Also, if not controlled, Avena grass (the invasive species that turns the hills yellow during the summer) takes over, killing off anything that would support pollinators during the summer and fall.
It also currently, but unsustainably, produces a large fraction of all food on earth.
Here’s an article from 2012 with some anecdotes if numbers aren’t your thing: https://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/14/magazine/californias-cent...
Here is a table of crops: https://republicans-naturalresources.house.gov/newsroom/docu...
(it doesn’t seem to include exports, so the numbers are low-balled)
It is clearly being over-farmed, but the solution to that is crop rotation and letting the fields periodically go fallow.
Blanketing it with solar panels is likely irreversible.
I can't help but feel like it's a subtle contradiction to propose that without constant watering the soil in California will crack up and vanish and that's not going to happen with crop rotation but will happen with crop rotation (as if many farms in California aren't already forced to do this because of the nature of our groundwater).
Are you also opposed to orchards? They're full of solar panels that make fruit rather than electricity.
Increases efficiency, prevents undesired pollinators taking control of neighboring paddocks, uses an order of magnitude less water than actual crop irrigation.
We're talking like a couple minimum wage employees with leaf blowers and ladders. Sure it doesn't cost nothing but in the context of a commercial operation it's not thaaaat expensive.
The central valley accounts for 1% of US farmland by area and 8% of US agriculture by revenue. Whatever they're doing wrong, they're also doing something right.
There is of course some thermodynamic limit to the amount of power we can use before over heating
Cheap energy is an extraordinary economic driver. Cheap green energy is a double win.
Sorry if this makes you feel more guilty.
And there are also some technologies, that while very energy hungry, can help fix many of the pressing world problems (large scale desalination, plasma waste processing, large scale CO2 capture, various benefiting megaprojects, etc.).
There is always going to be a sink for more power, because all else failing electricity can produce more aluminium products, and aluminium is one of those wonder materials that there will always be uses for. We know that energy efficiency can just as easily cause consumption to rise as to fall .
World power consumption is going up largely due to a rapidly growing middle class, but within that class, not so much.
So we might expect an increase in per-capita demand for electricity, if not for total power.
The benefit of solar is that no new energy is produced this way. You consume what hits the Earth anyway.
Things might change if and when we cover so much ground with panels, we change the global albedo significantly. But we're a long ways off from that.
This is a phrase you should remove from your vocabulary. Just because the desert hasn't been paved over doesn't make it useless.
Source: Lived in the desert.
If you go around disrupting desert biomes on a large scale, you cause desertification, converting the adjacent savanna and forest biomes into semi-arid desert. So even if you don't value desert for itself, that is foolish planning, unless your aim is to harm wildlife and the humans alike.
(2) We aren't at risk of running out of children, either, but that doesn't excuse neglecting or sacrificing them.
PS: Joy is a recognized form of economic benifit.
Here's a real one:
And thats two economies, California and Australia. You think there are no other places facing tensions around land use, water and farmer income?
Besides, it's not like farming is human-labor free. It's certainly comparable human labor to imagine keeping solar panels relatively dust free compared to growing strawberries.
"Georgia Power Boosts Plan for Renewables and Storage After Local Stakeholder Push" https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/georgia-power-u...
"What Oakland’s Pioneering Peaker Replacement Says About the Storage Market" https://www.greentechmedia.com/squared/storage-plus/what-oak...
"Stem Steps Into Grid-Scale Storage With Partnership in Massachusetts" https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/stem-steps-into...
"L.A. Looks to Break Price Records With Massive Solar-Battery Project" https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/ladwp-plans-to-...
"NV Energy Announces ‘Hulkingly Big’ Solar-Plus-Storage Procurement" https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/nv-energy-signs...
"GlidePath Builds Merchant Battery Plant in ERCOT, Bucking Industry Wisdom" https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/glidepath-bucke...
"Puerto Rico’s Latest IRP Increases Solar and Storage Targets" https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/puerto-ricos-la...
"Eversource Wants to Back Up an Entire Rural Town With Batteries Large and Small" https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/eversource-want...
"‘Cheaper Than a Peaker’: NextEra Inks Massive Wind+Solar+Storage Deal in Oklahoma" https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/nextera-inks-ev...
"Another California City Drops Gas Peaker in Favor of Clean Portfolio" https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/glendale-drops-...
"Storage Is Breaking Through in Diverse Markets Across the US" https://www.greentechmedia.com/squared/storage-plus/storage-...
"Solar + batteries help the grid recover in Kaua’i" https://pv-magazine-usa.com/2019/07/25/solar-batteries-help-...
"Cryogenic energy storage firm teams with Tenaska to develop U.S. projects" https://pv-magazine-usa.com/2019/07/18/cryogenic-energy-stor...
"Enormous Montana pumped hydro project gets Danish investment" https://pv-magazine-usa.com/2019/07/10/massive-montana-pumpe...
"Sunrun gets a second contract to supply capacity from rooftop solar + batteries" https://pv-magazine-usa.com/2019/07/18/sunrun-gets-a-second-...
"South Australia gives 500 MW solar farm plus 250 MW battery plan the go-ahead" https://www.pv-magazine.com/2019/07/04/south-australia-gives...
(and this may be as part of a hybrid fish/rice farm with nitrogen exchange)
I would love to see laws preventing destruction of woods, or otherwise fertile land, especially when wind power seems to be the way to go around here.
Also you can see it when going to Narita with Skyliner over the old unused shinkansen corridor - Skyliner fits in just about a half of the corridor & the rest is solar panels:
I do recall seeing more parking lots being fitted with a solar roof, and vehicle charging below...this probably should be the primary use of panels, shading otherwise blacktop parking lots
We seem to deal with driving near the ocean and other bodies of water just fine.
That said, at the right angle, no, its not just fine, the ocean reflects alot of sun, just like anything else.
You might say, "You have not recouped the cost." This is difficult to measure; my home has power during power outages. We have them regularly around here. What is the price on having uninterrupted power in your home when no one else can deliver it? Surely quite high, by comparison, no?
The red area in the map is the most productive part for Solar and Orange is partially good.
Solar is very geographically dependent, also high altitude is good, that is why Tibet/Colorado is in dark red. Precipitation is a problem for Solar, that is why Florida is OK but not great place for it.
If you want to find historical satellite images, one area is on Plains Road near URI. Ironically, it is across the street from URI's empty turf fields (although they do use that for research)
* Removing woodland is not great.
* On the other hand, more solar power over, say, coal, is a win for the environment. How much woodland will climate change destroy?
Or we could just build nuclear: https://www.city-journal.org/atomic-power and solve many problems at once, using technology that already exists.
For instance, gasoline is 34.2 MJ/L
A lithium-ion battery is 2.6 MJ/L
Meanwhile, Uranium is 1,539,842,000 MJ/L
For the same amount of money we’d get a lot more energy out of solar or wind. And no radioactive waste and proliferation worries as a bonus.
Goes to show you the tide is turning from environmentalism to capitalism.
If you did, I’d love to hear why this is such an inevitable consequence that it’s worth pointing out how inevitable it is as opposed to putting solar panels literally anywhere else that doesn’t have trees.
Ever consider re-prioritizing and leading by example?
I do disagree that there are other cultures with a 'better' notion. Culture matters, but nkt that much in the long run when theres status at stake
Pretend, for just a moment, that my proposition was true (as I obviously believe it to be). In that case, you've identified yourself as part of the problem. Especially so because you suggest that your prioritization is inevitable and therefore must be assumed.
> I do disagree that there are other cultures with a 'better' notion.
We can look at the development patterns of some other nations. Not all are so spread out, and not all believe that environmentalism is pointless.
> Culture matters, but nkt that much in the long run when theres status at stake
There's lots of ways to get status.
My friend I can guarantee you that despite what I do I will not change the prioritization of half a billion people. An individuals inability or past history of not doing something does not make him or her culpable of supporting the system. By your own measure you too fully support the system I am criticizing.
> We can look at the development patterns of some other nations. Not all are so spread out, and not all believe that environmentalism is pointless
Other nations that have developed in the presence and utilising the products of many other nations that do not share their beliefs.
> There's lots of ways to get status
And yet none of such import on the world stage that you can name it
You're demanding that an alternative value system have value to you BEFORE you will consider it. This is not very realistic or sensible for obvious reasons.
You're also suggesting your socialization is an inevitable product of human nature. Evolutionary Psychology has been split down the middle on this subject for some time,so I'm skeptical that you can resolve the debate that actual experts can't.
You're just wrong. Climate change is going to make certain parts of California much more expensive (in terms of energy and water) to farm. These areas are probably irreparable, not irreplaceable.
P.S., The Salton Sea is not a place we should send humans to work. It's an industrial disaster, not a resource.
The increase in variance means more droughts, and more need for reservoirs.
Paying locals to stabilize it now (so they can afford to leave!) seems preferable to the status quo.