The effect of plants on the energy output of green roof photovoltaic systems in tropical climates

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Kaewpraek C.
Ali L.
Rahman M.A.
Shakeri M.
Chowdhury M.S.
Jamal M.S.
Mia M.S.
Pasupuleti J.
Dong L.K.
Techato K.
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The rapid rise in the number of fossil fuel uses over the last few decades has increased carbon dioxide (CO2 ) emissions. The purpose of implementing renewable energy solutions, such as solar, hydro, wind, biomass, and other renewable energy sources, is to mitigate global climate change worldwide. Solar energy has received more attention over the last few decades as an alternative source of energy, and it can play an essential role in the future of the energy industry. This is especially true of energy solutions that reduce land use, such as off-grid and on-grid solar rooftop technologies. This study aims to evaluate the energy conversion efficiency of photovoltaic (PV) systems in tropical environments. It also explores the effect of growing plants beneath PV panels. Two identical grid-connected PV systems�each containing five solar panels�were installed. The overall power production of each PV system was about 1.4 kWp. All the collected data were processed and analysed in the same way and by the same method. The PV systems were installed in two different environments�one with the possibility of growing the plants beneath the PV panels (PViGR module) and one with no possibility of growing the plants beneath the PV panels (PViSR module). The experiments were conducted in the Bo Yang District of Songkhla, Thailand over a 12-month period. Our findings indicate that green roof photovoltaic (GRPV) systems can produce around 2100 kWh of electricity in comparison to the 2000 kWh produced by other solar energy systems. Thereby, growing plants beneath PV panels increases electricity production efficiency by around 2%. This difference comes from the growing of plants underneath GRPV systems. Plants do not only help to trap humidity underneath GRPV systems but also help to cool the PV panels by absorbing the temperature beneath GRPV systems. Thus, in the production of electrical energy; the system was clearly showing significant differences in the mentioned results of both PV solar systems, which are evident for great energy efficiency performances in the future. � 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
alternative energy; carbon dioxide; climate change; energy efficiency; fossil fuel; global climate; photovoltaic system; roof; solar power; tropical region; Songkhla; Southern Region; Thailand