A recent study shows that lettuce can be grown in greenhouses that filter out wavelengths of light used to generate solar power, demonstrating the feasibility of using see-through solar panels in greenhouses to generate electricity. “We were a little surprised – there was no real reduction in plant growth or health,” says Heike Sederoff, co-corresponding author of the study and a professor of plant biology at North Carolina State University. “It means the idea of integrating transparent solar cells into greenhouses can be done.” Because plants do not use all of the wavelengths of light for photosynthesis, researchers have explored the idea of creating semi-transparent organic solar cells that primarily absorb wavelengths of light that plants don’t rely on, and incorporating those solar cells into greenhouses. Earlier work from NC State focused on how much energy solar-powered greenhouses could produce . Depending on the design of the greenhouse, and where it is located, solar cells could make many greenhouses energy neutral – or even allow them to generate more power than they use. But, until now, it wasn’t clear how these semi-transparent solar panels might affect greenhouse crops. To address the issue, researchers grew crops of red leaf lettuce […]

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