Converting tobacco fields into solar farms can save half a million lives a year

Read the full story at JSTOR Daily.

As demand for solar energy grew in recent years, so did the need for land for solar farms. Homeowners’ roof installations proved to be efficient enough to power individual houses and even supply electricity back to the grid, but transforming the energy industry to rely on the power of the sun requires solar power arrays installed over big swaths of land. “To completely eliminate the need for burning fossil fuels, solar technology requires large surface areas,” explains Joshua Pearce, materials science and engineering professor professor at Michigan Technological University—and that may not be an easy problem to solve…

Pearce and his colleague Ram Krishnan, who designs large solar systems, believe that the answer may be in converting tobacco plantations into energy generators.

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