Green roofs and solar panels as a single assembly system in Austin, Texas



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Green roofs and solar panels are used as sustainable technologies in the built environment. As any technology, these too have their limitations, especially in hot climates like Austin. First, the efficiency of solar panels reduces as their internal resistance increases with higher temperatures. Second, the plant’s roots extend horizontally in shallow growing medium such as that in green roofs. Therefore, the plant’s roots overheat, and these green roofs become, the not-so-wanted, brown roofs. This research was developed to understand how these two technologies interact with each other as a single assembly system specifically how: 1) green roofs, through evaporation, can cool off the solar panels, and 2) solar panels can provide shade to cool off the plant’s roots. In this study, I present the results of combining green roofs and solar panels in Austin. I aim to understand how plants provide a passive form of cooling for the solar panels and if so, how power production is increased, and how the plants react to the shade produced by the solar panels and if this can keep the plant’s roots cooler.