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Tinted Solar Panels Can Help Farms Generate Clean Energy While Growing Food

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Here are some cannabis greenhouses near Santa Barbara, California on August 6, 2019. Imagine a future where all your weed is grown in tandem with solar energy generation.
Here are some cannabis greenhouses near Santa Barbara, California on August 6, 2019. Imagine a future where all your weed is grown in tandem with solar energy generation.
Photo: David McNew (Getty Images)

In a future world, leafy vegetables may not be grown in rows of crops under the sun. Instead, they may be grown indoors beneath tinted semi-transparent solar panels that will allow farmers to grow food and produce energy. That’s the future imagined in a recent study that shows how the use of this technology can benefit farmers and the climate.

Semi-transparent solar panels are an emerging area of technology. At least one company offers them as a canopy to put over outdoor spaces. But the new study, published in the journal Advanced Energy Materials earlier this month, explores whether tinted solar panels could work on farms as well, a process part of a larger area of research dubbed agrivoltaics. 

The authors assessed how growing basil and spinach under the panels works, and the results are encouraging. For the experiment, the team of scientists grew the plants in both a clear glass building and underneath tinted semi-transparent solar panels and compared the results. The panels can filter out the different wavelengths of light depending on what color they are. The researchers chose orange-tinted panels to absorb mostly blue and green light while allowing red light to shine through to the plants, which they prefer.

“The reason plants are green is because they reflect back the green [light] and they use all of the red,” said author Elinor Thompson, a senior lecturer of science at the University of Greenwich. “These transparent solar panels use the wavelength of light that the plants don’t want, so they’re kind of orangey-red solar panels. That’s really cool because then plants get what they want, and then you get the rest of the energy for electricity.”

With less light coming through overall, the crops did see morphological changes. That includes reduced biomass, including a 15% and 26% reduction in the amount of leaves (i.e. the parts we eat) the basil and spinach produced respectively. That has the potential to cut into farmer’s profits. But when factoring in the power generated by the panels that could be sold back onto the grid or used to offset energy use elsewhere, the crops resulted in a financial gain of up to 2.5% for basil and a whopping 35% for spinach.

This technology is still pretty new, but the interest has grown in recent years, Thompson said. With the urgency around the climate crisis growing, engineers are trying to get creative about future land use. Instead of a future where energy and crops need to compete for space, these solar panels offer a scenario where they can share space. That doesn’t mean, though, that the technology is perfect or that it doesn’t have limitations. With the spinach and basil, the roots saw the greatest reduction in size compared to other parts of the plants. That could mean this growing and power generating method wouldn’t be so great for root vegetables, such as potatoes and carrots.

It’s clear, though, that the agriculture sector needs some rethinking. Growing food is responsible for almost 10% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Tinted solar panels won’t fix that completely; farmers still need to use less fertilizer and implement practices that emit less carbon pollution—or even absorb it out of the atmosphere. But the agrivoltaics model is comes with an added benefit: clean energy. The world needs a lot more of that.

Source : Gizmodo Read More

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Charge Your Phone Wirelessly With 50% off a Multifunctional LED Lamp

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Best Tech DealsBest Tech DealsThe best tech deals from around the web, updated daily.

White Wireless Charge Lamp | $18 | Amazon | Clip coupon + code ABC88699
Black Wireless Charger Lamp | $20 | Amazon | Promo code ABC88699

When you’re ready to turn in for the night, you don’t want to forget to charge your phone— especially if your mobile device doubles as your alarm clock.

With this wireless charger lamp, you can make this crucial step of your nightly routine even easier by just setting your phone on the wireless charging pad and… well, that’s all there is to it!

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Other functions include multiple lighting modes as well as a sleep timer option for auto shut-off of the light after 30 or 60 minutes.

This lamp can be yours in white for $18 if you clip the coupon on Amazon (it’s below the original $40 price) and add promo code ABC88699 at checkout.

You can snag the black version for $20 using the same code—no coupon though, sorry.

Don’t sleep on this deal! Who knows how long stock or the coupon code will last?

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Keep That Hotdish Hot With 65% Off a Luncia Casserole Carrier, Only $11 With Promo Code

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Best Home DealsBest Home DealsThe best home, kitchen, smart home, and automotive deals from around the web, updated daily.

Luncia Double-Decker Dish Carrier | $11 | Amazon | Promo code SDDU9S7F

It has been a long time since the days we could safely have a potluck or other gatherings, but we have a fantastic deal perfect for once those times return. These double-decker Luncia dish carriers can be had for 65% off when you add promo code SDDU9S7F at checkout and clip the coupon on the site (it’s just below the price). These holders fit 9″x 13″ sized baking dishes.

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That means you can insulate and keep two dishes of food warm for only $11 instead of $30. What’s more, your Luncia carrier will arrive by Christmas if you order today as a Prime member.

Just add promo code SDDU9S7F and clip the 5% off coupon to bring the price down to $11 for the blue or the grey option.

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Grab this offer while it’s still around!


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Conquer Your Pup’s Dander and Fur With $700 Off a Cobalt or Charcoal Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum

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Best Home DealsBest Home DealsThe best home, kitchen, smart home, and automotive deals from around the web, updated daily.

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Cobalt) | $200 | Best Buy

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Charcoal) | $200 | Best Buy

Allergies can be bad enough as the seasons change. Don’t let pet hair and dander add to that by vacuuming it up early and often. That chore is easier said than done— unless you have a robot vacuum to do the work for you. This lovely bright cobalt Bobsweep PetHair Plus robot vacuum and mop, only $200 today at Best Buy seems like an ideal option. That’s a whopping $700 off, by the way.

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You can get the same deal for the charcoal version of the robot vac, too. This model is not only specially made for picking up pet hair, it self docks and charges when it’s finished with the work.

It also comes with a mop attachment, so it can take care of those kitchen floors for you as well. Grab it while it’s still available for this fantastic price!

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