Green roof and photovoltaic panel integration: Effects on plant and arthropod diversity and electricity production

Bracha Y. Schindler, Leon Blaustein, Ran Lotan, Hadar Shalom, Gyongyver J. Kadas, Merav Seifan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The combination of green roofs with photovoltaic (PV) panels has been proposed to provide synergistic benefits as the panel is cooled by the presence of the vegetation, and thus produces more electricity, while the solar panel enhances growing conditions for vegetation, and increases abiotic heterogeneity, resulting in higher plant diversity. We tested these hypotheses in a non-irrigated green roof in a Mediterranean climate with replicated plots including green roofs only, green roofs with a PV panel, and a conventional roof surface with a PV panel. We found that presence of a panel resulted in higher heterogeneity in substrate moisture, but there was no effect on plant diversity. Plant species showed enhanced growth in plots with PV, including greater growth of Sedum sediforme and longer flowering time of annual species. On the other hand, arthropod diversity was lower during part of the year, and abundance of some arthropod taxa was lower in green roof plots with PV. The presence of the green roof also did not improve electricity production by the panels. We conclude that in a Mediterranean climate, it would be appropriate to examine the use of irrigation in green roofs with PV panels, including effects on the plant community and on electricity production.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)288-299
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Volume225
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by Peter and Gyongyver Kadas, University of Haifa , Council for Higher Education , Ministry of Absorption , and Israel Ministry of Environmental Protection .

Funding Information:
This work was supported by Peter and Gyongyver Kadas, University of Haifa, Council for Higher Education, Ministry of Absorption, and Israel Ministry of Environmental Protection.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Elsevier Ltd

Keywords

  • Biosolar roof
  • Insect diversity
  • Panel efficiency
  • Solar panels
  • Urban biodiversity
  • Vegetated roof

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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