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African KAW t/a Solar Systems INSTALLATIONS

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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

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Silicon-based PV cells are the most widespread solar photovoltaic technology used. Most solar panels have a glass front that protects the PV cell and an aluminum or steel frame. Research shows that “leaching of trace metals from modules is unlikely to present a significant risk due to the sealed nature of the installed cells.”

Some solar modules use cadmium telluride (CdTe). Cadmium compounds are toxic, but studies show that such compounds cannot be emitted from CdTe modules during normal operation or even during fires. Industrial incineration temperatures, which are much higher than grassfires, are required to release the compounds from the modules.

Solar modules will actually cool crops and vegetation underneath during the day due to shading, and keep them warmer at night. Studies have shown that these temperature differences cancel out and that mean daily crop temperatures were similar under modules compared to full sun crops and there was no impact on crop growth rates. Modules can provide farmers the ability to grow shade-tolerant crops and to diversify crop selection, while also extending growing seasons and reducing water requirements. One study found that shading from solar modules produced lettuce crop weight equal to or greater than lettuce grown in full sun.

Yes, however, if desired, a security fence can keep out larger animals if they are deemed to be a damage risk to the modules. Fencing can be built to accommodate smaller animals such as kit foxes. Areas beneath the modules can be reseeded to provide habitat and forage to pollinators, birds, and other small species.

Solar modules create an opportunity for avian interactions. PV modules are generally less reflective than windows and have been installed and monitored for avian impacts at numerous airports. Nonetheless, avian injuries and mortalities may occur through collisions with power lines, vehicles, fencing, and solar equipment and structures such as modules. There are some concerns that birds might misconstrue solar installations for bodies of water and attempt to land on them, but this has not been proven. A 2017 comprehensive survey of all solar and bird interactions in the UK determined that “bird collision risk from solar panels is very low. There is likely to be more of a collision risk to birds presented by infrastructure associated with solar PV developments, such as overhead power lines.”

There has not been any documented evidence of solar modules increasing food prices. Solar projects planted with pollinator habitat can actually help increase local agricultural yields through increased pollination and other beneficial insect services. Two states (MN and MD) have already developed pollinator-friendly solar certifications to promote planting of pollinator habitat that can benefit local farms.

In addition, solar can provide several benefits to agricultural land managers that may offset capital costs of installing solar:

Solar can be installed with zero upfront capital cost through leasing.
Solar can be installed on marginal agriculture lands and provide a different source of revenue for the farm. This different revenue stream can offset operating expenses of the farm and provide economic resiliency in poor growing years.
Solar does not need to be installed on current or projected growing areas.
Co-location of solar and crops installations can be designed to optimize for both electricity and food production.
Shade under the solar modules can allow for planting high-value, shade-tolerant, and hand-harvested crops that may not normally be available in markets (i.e. lettuces in desert areas, etc.).

Yes, solar can power irrigation equipment. Solar can offset power required for pumping and provide power to remote irrigation systems, requiring no grid connection. Solar irrigation pumps are currently in use in multiple African Countries, South America, and India.

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  • 562 Pretoria Road, Fairleads, Benoni, South Africa, 1512.
  • +27 11 776 9303 / +27 81 744 3070
  • info@africankawsolarsystems.co.za