Every kid of the 1980s had a calculator that ran on solar power but only in the last 10 or so years we had the opportunities to use the potential of large-scale solar power installations. It seems like a no-brainer to harness the power of the Sun’s light since it is constantly flooding our Earth and what better place can accommodate such an option if not the world’s largest desert, the Sahara.
Besides being the largest in the world, the Sahara desert is also dry, windy and especially sunny. A huge win for humanity could be obtained if we managed to build wind and solar energy facilities in the sands. However, according to a new study which was recently published in Science, doing so would start turning the Sahara into a not-so-desert desert.
Smooth, dry and bright, the Sahara would be affected by solar panels and wind turbines. The various pieces of hardware that go into making the solar panels are darker than the surrounding sand. In the meantime, you should also know that wind turbine can actually affect the behavior of the wind over large areas, instead of just passively generating power from the winds that cause them to spin.
Installing large-scale structures of either solar and wind farms can lead to more rain falling in the desert and vegetation growth can also be promoted in the region. The co-author of the study, Eugenia Kalnay from the University of Maryland thinks that solar panels and wind turbines represent rougher and darker land surfaces which cause complex land-atmosphere interactions leading to rainfall increase.
Naturally, if the rainfall increases, it could spark the return of vegetation over a large area, which represents a never-thought before way of bringing back life to the desert.
Karen and her husband live on a plot of land in British Columbia. They aim to grow and raise a significant part of their food by maintaining a vegetable garden, keeping a flock of backyard chickens and foraging. They are also currently planning a move to a small cabin they hand built. Karen’s academic background in nutrition made her care deeply about real food and seek ways to obtain it. Thus sprung Anna’s interest in backyard gardening, chicken and goat keeping, recycling and self-sufficiency.