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Solar - Drawbacks for critters?

 
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Hi all,

My wife and I have moved up our timetable for moving and starting our homestead significantly, and tomorrow we are looking at a property that, among other things, already has solar set up. This place is not an existing homestead, just a country house on a little over 3 acres (I was wishing for more like 10, but this seems to be more attainable) I like the place, but as I'm looking at the photos and thinking about possible permaculture farmstead setups, I'm concerned about the solar panels.  There is a battery of them to the side of the house in three rows, low to the ground. Would these things pose a potential hazard for the organisms on the homestead? Would it be detrimental to put beehives too near them, for example? Would they be a problem if animals got too near them? Want to make sure I'm not runnign myself into a potential hazard for my critters if I buy.

Thanks!
 
gardener & author
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Location: Ladakh, Indian Himalayas at 10,500 feet, zone 5
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I lived near solar electric panels for some 20 years at the school I worked at. The panels don't get hot. Animals and people have to be trusted to avoid hard objects with sharp corners. What hazard are you thinking of?
 
Nikolai Stepanovitch
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Rebecca Norman wrote:I lived near solar electric panels for some 20 years at the school I worked at. The panels don't get hot. Animals and people have to be trusted to avoid hard objects with sharp corners. What hazard are you thinking of?



None in particular. I seem to recall several years ago reading an article about massive bird die-offs in areas around solar farms, but I don't recall details and I don't think it was confirmed that it was directly caused by the panels, although it seemed to be strongly suggested. I guess that, and my general lack of knowledge about the specific workings of solar energy systems, made me want to be cautious. Since 3.3 acres is so much less than I ahd really hoped to have, I am looking to utilize every square foot to the maximum and I want to find the most effective and safe way to utilize even the area taken up by the panels. Just wanted to be sure I wouldn't be putting my bees or anything at risk by locating hives, beds, or pens next to them.
 
gardener
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Hi Nikolai;
The big hazard I see, is animals using them as a scratching post.
Any farm animal that is tall enough will scratch on the sharp corner.
They can and will happily rip them off the mount  and then walk all over the remains.
Bottom line; the panels must be fenced off from the herd.
 
pollinator
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While I don't have farm animals I do have solar panels in an array whose low end is 3 to 4 feet off the ground.  I have never seen any issues with wildlife being harmed by them.  In fact a family of robins regularly builds a nest in a little spot on top of a combiner box just under one of the panels.  It makes for a nice little sheltered spot for them.  One winter I also noticed that there had been a large wasp/hornet nest built under the panels.  It was no longer active but was built to quite a healthy size!
 
master pollinator
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I have a couple kw of panels.  I have never noticed a problem.  I weed grow pretty well around them.  
 
pollinator
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Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even Soil:SandyLoam pH6 Flat
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I dont see a solar panel being any worse than a carport. So they are both fine.

They do have solar electric farms that concentrate the sunlight to a small central region similar to a magnifying glass, those might kill animals but not the type that homes have.

 
pollinator
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Location: Victoria BC
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I would avoid using them for rainwater collection for animals, people, or gardens; there is some not so nice stuff in there... Beyond that animals are more likely to harm solar panels than the other way around IMO.
 
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