Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

CleanTechnica
The combination of green roofs with rooftop solar panels can boost solar cell efficiency right now, without waiting for new high tech breakthroughs...

Buildings

Green Roofs Pave the Way to Cheap Solar Power

The combination of green roofs with rooftop solar panels can boost solar cell efficiency right now, without waiting for new high tech breakthroughs…

green roofs boost solar cell efficiencyThe combination of green roofs with rooftop solar panels can provide a quick and easy way to boost solar cell efficiency right now, making it more cost effective for property owners to invest in a rooftop solar installation without waiting for new technology breakthroughs to hit the market. Though at first glance it may seem that solar panels and vegetation don’t mix, the solar industry has been coming up with new rooftop infrastructures that enables greenery to thrive between the photovoltaic modules.

Solar Panels that Tiptoe Through the Tulips

One main concern when siting solar panels on a green roof is enabling enough water to reach the plants. In conventional solar installations, the modules are mounted on concrete slabs and that prevents water from distributing evenly across the roof. The solution, according to the International Green Roof Association, is to mount the panels on boards that double as drainage layers, a system that is becoming common in the two green roof hotspots of Europe, Germany and Switzerland.

The other concern is excessive shade from the solar panels. So far, though, the research indicates that while some stunting does occur, the addition of shade to a green roof can improve the overall health of the roof by promoting biodiversity. Shade from the solar panels provides a habitat for plants and various kinds of critters that don’t thrive in full sunlight.

Green Roofs Boost Solar Cell Efficiency

The company Green Roof Technology has just introduced a combination solar panel-green roof system it calls “Sun-Root,” and its chief Jörg Breuning sums up the concept nicely: “Heat is the enemy of energy production.” Excess heat prevents photovoltaic cells from operating at peak efficiency. While solar researchers are developing new advanced solar cell technologies to get around that problem, green roofs have a proven ability to cool down surface temperatures. The natural cooling effect of green roofs can boost photovoltaic efficiency significantly, by up to 16 percent according to one study.

Green Roofs for the U.S. Military

Given the alacrity with which the Department of Defense is preparing for the end of oil by adopting alternative energy and energy conservation technologies, it should be no surprise that green roofs are already sprouting up at military facilities around the country, including a new green roof at DoD’s brand new LEED gold billion-dollar office complex in Virginia. It’s only a matter of time before the solar-green roof crossover hits the military market, and from there it’s just a short hop over to the mainstream mass market.

Image (green roof): Daisy. License Attribution Some rights reserved by SnowBunny_01.

Follow Tina Casey on Twitter: @TinaMCasey.

 

 
Appreciate CleanTechnica’s originality? Consider becoming a CleanTechnica Member, Supporter, Technician, or Ambassador — or a patron on Patreon.
 
 

Advertisement
 
Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

Written By

Tina specializes in military and corporate sustainability, advanced technology, emerging materials, biofuels, and water and wastewater issues. Views expressed are her own. Follow her on Twitter @TinaMCasey and Google+.

Comments

You May Also Like

Clean Transport

From the Electrovan to trucks, airplanes and locomotives, GM is finally having its hydrogen fuel cell moment, with an assist from the Army.

Batteries

The US Department of Defense is eyeballing energy efficient trucks and silicon EV batteries to cut down on climate-killing fossil fuels.

Autonomous Vehicles

Joe Biden will be the next president of the United States of America, and Kamala Harris will break through many barriers to become the...

Energy Efficiency

Tinker Air Force Base has a head start on the road to an energy efficient, carbon negative -- yes, carbon negative -- US Department...

Copyright © 2021 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.