A Taiwanese state-run utility is testing whether grazing cattle at the photovoltaic plant site can lead to control of weed growth. The main objective of the project is the maintenance of power generation of the PV plant (shading effect), without energy-consuming workmanship with the lawnmower.
Natural Automatic Cow-based Maintenance
To this end, they have installed photovoltaic panels at a height of more than 3 meters to allow the cows to graze beneath them. This is important in different aspects such as dual usage of the land, controlling shading due to vegetation growth on solar panels production, and last but not least automatic maintenance of the plant with grazing cows. The last point is a replacement for manual labor with a lawnmower or lawnmower robots which both use energy compared to automated cows which “create food”. These will reduce the environmental impact of the project.
Taipower with the support of the Taiwan Council of Agriculture runs this project on land used for grazing cattle at a former mining waste disposal site in rural Shuili, Nantou County, according to PV-Magazine.
Why Growing Vegetation Can be an Important Problem for Solar Generation?
Shading caused by vegetation over PV modules in one array leads to losses in power generation of all the modules in that array. In some cases, this effect can reduce 10% to 20% power generation of the plant. Therefore, a PV plant plus natural control of weed growth has a greater positive environmental impact compared to the conventional one.
It is worth mentioning that Taipower is testing this idea for the PV plant with a total capacity of 9 MW.
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