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Solar power occupies a lot of space – here’s how to make it more ecologically beneficial to the land it sits on

12 Comments
By Matthew Sturchio

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This is great stuff, but the biggest problem is the UK is not the ecological hit. A whole swathe of solar farms have failed to obtain planning permission, as the locals think they will spoil the view. 'Visual impact' is not just wrecking the growth of solar farms, offshore turbines are suffering too. They require pylons to move energy to the national grid, and the locals don't like the look of those either.

We could create artificial trees with leaf-like solar panels, but they probably wouldn't like the look of them either. They may be less picky after a few dozen power cuts, but the transition needs to be smoother than that.

Solar farms have a bad press all round at the moment. Ideally they would be sited on poor quality land. But in the UK, post-Brexit, farmers can't access migrant labour to harvest crops, so they are first in the queue to switch good agricultural land (that they can't now use so easily) to solar panels. This is causing concern, as it is a bad idea to lose good crop-growing land.

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The urgent development of solar power is the first priority, if we want to prevent the excruciating end of our dear planet.

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if we want to prevent the excruciating end of our dear planet.

Earth will most definitely survive us, individually and as a species. Environmental protection is a means to ensure our own survival.

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Solar panels on rooftops, in carparks, on and over waterways, and in dual use areas for crops and husbandry.

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Solar power is fine for small needs like houses and the like. But you need something that can provide a reliable baseload if you're to have any functioning industry. And for that you need nuclear, gas, coal, or hydro. No two ways about it.

The graduate teaching assistant who wrote this article needs to learn some basics like energy density and where the materials for solar panels come from and go to as part of their life cycle. Then he can come back and write another article that actually makes practical, economic, and environmental sense.

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@Chairman Rexton: Coal, gas and petrol are the bad energy sources which cause malignant harm to our beloved planet. Solar power and Nuclear power, together and even each one alone, can easily supply all the demand. Note that there are two different methods to convert the sun's radiation to electricity: One method is using solar panels, and the second method is using thermo-solar power plants.

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@/dev/random: You say that the Earth will most definitely survive us. That is true, but no form of life will survive. The Earth will survive as a dead and dry piece of rock that revolves vainly like Venus and Mars, or like any asteroid. This dead gyroscope will be encompassed by a fiery atmosphere whose temperature will be in the order of hundreds of degrees Celsius. At first this fiery atmosphere will contain a lot of steam, but later it will be composed mainly of CO2.

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The Earth will survive as a dead and dry piece of rock that revolves vainly like Venus and Mars, or like any asteroid.

Preposterous. Human influenced climate change cannot cause this.

It may cause sudden and massive depopulation of humans, but the scenario you envisage is not based on any science.

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@ClippetyClop:

the scenario you envisage is not based on any science.

Please read, for example, the book Storms of my Grandchildren by the climate scientist James Hansen.

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Please read, for example, the book Storms of my Grandchildren by the climate scientist James Hansen.

Hansen's runaway scenario, while oftentimes cited, is purely theoretical. It cannot happen on Earth, we simply don't have enough fossil fuels to burn to trigger it.

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The work of James Hansen is a very respectable scientific work, and it is valid.

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The work of James Hansen is a very respectable scientific work, and it is valid.

Absolutely. The fact that he describes a theoretical scenario that has been evaluated to be not possible on Earth does not make his work invalid.

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