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RedDeerGuy1's avatar

How much do solar panels, and wind turbines affect the weather?

Asked by RedDeerGuy1 (20368points) November 17th, 2020

They take energy out of the system.
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8 Answers

Caravanfan's avatar

Not at all.

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LostInParadise's avatar

The energy used is miniscule compared to the total energy available.

LuckyGuy's avatar

In total, there is no effect. But scientists have measured very localized weather pattern changes downwind of turbines.

How Wind Turbines Affect Your (Very) Local Weather from Scientific American. Excerpt:

“Roy and his colleague Justin Traiteur looked at temperature records from the wind farm in San Gorgonio, Calif., between June 18 and August 9, 1989. The summertime records show that nighttime and early morning temperatures remained higher downwind from the wind farm while the rest of the day was cooler.

Plugging such weather data into a regional climate model revealed that the impacts were likely due to the increased mixing of the near-surface and higher-atmosphere air thanks to the wind turbines. The researchers suggest this might have impacts on the agricultural fields over which wind turbines typically tower—for instance, protecting crops from frost. “Orange farmers in Florida use giant fans to protect their crops from frost,” Roy notes. “Just like wind turbines, these fans generate turbulence and mixing, producing a warming near the surface at night.”

gorillapaws's avatar

About as much as peeing in the ocean affects the sea level.

Demosthenes's avatar

@LuckyGuy Yep, you see fans like that all over vineyards here in northern California. I remember as a kid never understanding what they were for.

Jeruba's avatar

A solar panel stores solar (sun) energy in a certain reusable form.

So do trees and all other vegetable matter. The energy in the food you eat comes from the sun, directly (your spinach and oranges and oatmeal) or indirectly (meat from an animal that ate plants). You are storing energy too. It’ll be released when you use it to function and also when you eventually add matter to the earth.

The sun also shines on rocks, lizards, and old rubber tires. Nothing is being taken away from the system. It just moves around.

Wind turbines move because they are in the path of the wind. They are built to store energy too, wind power, and redirect it to some human purpose. The trees outside my window also move in the wind, but from our point of view that energy is simply spent. Nothing is storing it for our use.

These are better ways of capturing and storing energy than cutting down forests or digging holes in the earth to find things to burn.

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