A green roof or rooftop solar? You can combine them in a biosolar roof, boosting both biodiversity and power output

The Conversation
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Journal Article
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Growing city populations and limited space are driving the adoption of green roofs and green walls covered with living plants. As well as boosting biodiversity, green roofs could play another unexpectedly valuable role by increasing the electricity output of solar panels. As solar panels heat up beyond 25℃, their efficiency decreases markedly. Green roofs moderate rooftop temperatures. So we wanted to find out: could green roofs help with the problem of heat reducing the output of solar panels? Our research compared a “biosolar” green roof – one that combines a solar system with a green roof – and a comparable conventional roof with an equivalent solar system. We measured the impacts on biodiversity and solar output, as well as how the plants coped with having panels installed above them. The green roof supported much more biodiversity, as one might expect. By reducing average maximum temperatures by about 8℃, it increased solar generation by as much as 107% during peak periods. And while some plant species outperformed others, the vegetation flourished.
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