Kentucky State University

Poster Title

Do Kentucky Solar Facilities Impact Seasonal and Diurnal Variations in Microclimates?

Grade Level at Time of Presentation

Junior

Major

Biology

Institution 22-23

Kentucky State University

KY House District #

57

KY Senate District #

20

Department

Dept. of Biology

Abstract

The United States Government enacted the Federal Sustainability Plan in December 2021 to catalyze America’s clean energy industries and jobs. Through the Federal Sustainability Plan, the Federal Government proposed to achieve 100% carbon pollution-free electricity by 2030, including 50% on a 24/7 basis. Climate adaptation planning has provided States and Local Governments with opportunities to shift to renewable energy sources, such as installing solar energy facilities throughout the region. Solar energy facilities are a collection of Photovoltaic (PV) units that capture solar irradiance to generate carbon pollution-free electricity. Current literature suggests solar facilities impact microclimate and needs additional longitudinal research to propose interventions to minimize negative long-term environmental impact. The principal investigators developed mechanisms to study Kentucky solar facilities' installation impact on seasonal and diurnal variations in microclimate. Our investigators monitored meteorological data before and after the Kentucky solar facility installation. Our results are inconclusive to date due to the free time-resolved data resolution used in this study. In addition, the literature suggests Kentucky State University’s Land Grant is well suited to propose and provide environmental vegetation management plans as interventions to minimize seasonal and diurnal variation in microclimates. Natural vegetation management can be used as an infrastructure to reduce negative impacts on microclimates. The principal investigators used the infrastructure term to highlight a hierarchical relationship between solar facilities and vegetation management. A possible intervention is intentionally cultivated vegetation management to best serve the diversity of natural vegetation for the self-regulatory processes of plants to thrive. Lower carbon cycling and plant diversity may be attributable to vegetation management and altered microclimates. The application of this study can lead to the development of safe and efficient solar farms to support the local microclimate while bolstering Kentucky’s renewable energy production.

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Do Kentucky Solar Facilities Impact Seasonal and Diurnal Variations in Microclimates?

The United States Government enacted the Federal Sustainability Plan in December 2021 to catalyze America’s clean energy industries and jobs. Through the Federal Sustainability Plan, the Federal Government proposed to achieve 100% carbon pollution-free electricity by 2030, including 50% on a 24/7 basis. Climate adaptation planning has provided States and Local Governments with opportunities to shift to renewable energy sources, such as installing solar energy facilities throughout the region. Solar energy facilities are a collection of Photovoltaic (PV) units that capture solar irradiance to generate carbon pollution-free electricity. Current literature suggests solar facilities impact microclimate and needs additional longitudinal research to propose interventions to minimize negative long-term environmental impact. The principal investigators developed mechanisms to study Kentucky solar facilities' installation impact on seasonal and diurnal variations in microclimate. Our investigators monitored meteorological data before and after the Kentucky solar facility installation. Our results are inconclusive to date due to the free time-resolved data resolution used in this study. In addition, the literature suggests Kentucky State University’s Land Grant is well suited to propose and provide environmental vegetation management plans as interventions to minimize seasonal and diurnal variation in microclimates. Natural vegetation management can be used as an infrastructure to reduce negative impacts on microclimates. The principal investigators used the infrastructure term to highlight a hierarchical relationship between solar facilities and vegetation management. A possible intervention is intentionally cultivated vegetation management to best serve the diversity of natural vegetation for the self-regulatory processes of plants to thrive. Lower carbon cycling and plant diversity may be attributable to vegetation management and altered microclimates. The application of this study can lead to the development of safe and efficient solar farms to support the local microclimate while bolstering Kentucky’s renewable energy production.