The industrial revolution saw the growth of businesses that extracted resources and cleared land to make way for factories and development. In many ways, industry and nature were at war, competing for the same resources. Today, businesses have turned a corner and now acknowledge the vital value of natural resources such as clean water and carbon sinking forests made up of trees. Indeed, SolarBI sees trees as similar to Solar Panels in so many ways…
Trees grow a shade-producing canopy by blocking out up to 90% of the sun’s solar radiation and significantly reducing heat in the environment surrounding the tree. Deciduous trees can shade the harsh afternoon sun in Summer whilst thoughtfully dropping their leaves in winter to let the heat in when you want it. Genius, and the reason behind Why all the buzz about greening our cities?
Solar Panels are active shade creators too, blocking the sun on your roof and allowing an air gap behind for heat to disperse. This study found a reduction of 3°C on roofs with Solar Panels compared to those without. Less heat in your roof space lowers the inside temperature too, which means a cooler surrounding environment, kind of like the environment trees create!
Not only do trees and solar panels reduce the heat in the environment, they positively cool it. Trees use evapotranspiration to disperse moisture and create a cooling effect like the air conditioning you have in your home, which you power by Solar Panels if you’re smart. Solar Panels convert thermal energy into electrical energy used to keep that air conditioner running through those hot Summer months.
We cannot deny the fact trees support our human existence, they sequester carbon dioxide and release oxygen whilst purifying the air – pretty magical stuff. They keep us breathing by absorbing air pollution produced by humans everywhere, every day often through the burning of fossil fuels.
Solar Panels reduce pollution too. Solar Panels are a clean technology that produces significantly fewer carbon emissions compared to their dirty fossil fuel counterparts. Yes, they generate pollution during their production and also waste at the end of their life if they end up in landfill, but this is offset by the benefit they make across their whole life. Not convinced? Check out this great article on lifecycle assessment which clearly shows that the lifecycle of a Solar Panel has significantly less impact than burning even the ‘cleanest’ of coal.
Finally, the Solar PV industry has had some of the most significant growth in this country in recent years. In fact, we wrote a blog on it recently. Meanwhile, trees are always seeing growth – constant, continuous and steady growth. Unlike the businesses of the industrial revolution, Solar Panels and trees can keep growing whilst improving the air we breathe and the environment in which we live.
We can help you quantify the solar potential for your home, business or commercial solar farm at SolarBI. We have one of the most extensive datasets available in a user-friendly format right at your fingertips. Check it out. One day we’ll even have data on trees.