Is there any reason why solar and wind farms cannot share the same piece of land? The number of solar arrays that would have to be omitted to make way for the turbines should be relatively few. The advantages are:

  1. Dual use of the land, (more power per square metre) and you could still graze animals.
  2. Shared use of much of the infrastructure such as transformers, switchgear and cables.
  3. Somewhat more even supply, more chance that the site would be producing something 24/7.
  4. Possibly output would be less weather dependent. I can't say for sure, but sunny days tend to be calm (Summer high pressure weather systems) and cloudy days are windy (Winter weather). This is a generalisation with exceptions and caveats.

There would be downsides, higher capital investment and sunny sites are not necessarily windy and vice versa. However they both are often found on less productive agricultural land, so in that respect vie for similar sites. But on the whole are there any technical disadvantages?

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ The wind turbines cast large shadows across the solar panels rendering them less effective. \$\endgroup\$ – Andy aka Sep 18 '19 at 11:33
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ How do you graze animals on land that is mostly shaded by solar panels? \$\endgroup\$ – Dave Tweed Sep 18 '19 at 11:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Andyaka Somewhat, but that depends on the wind direction and the orientation and layout of the arrays. In the northern hemisphere arrays face South. The predominant wind direction in the UK is from the West. Therefore the shadow of the turbines would be North-South and narrow. Again a sweeping generalisation. \$\endgroup\$ – Peter Jennings Sep 18 '19 at 11:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DaveTweed Apparently it's fairly common practice. There is still enough light reaching the ground for grass to grow suitable for sheep. The panels are mounted high enough that the sheep can walk underneath them. Google "grazing sheep on solar farm" for more information and several images of it happening. \$\endgroup\$ – Peter Jennings Sep 18 '19 at 11:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ "... but that depends on the wind direction and the orientation and layout of the arrays." The shadows are cast by the sun, not the wind. The problem is that blocking one panel in an array of series panels may cause problems. \$\endgroup\$ – Transistor Sep 18 '19 at 11:49

There is no reason you cannot consider this if you are aware of all requirements.

I remember seeing a website to compute utilization and compute GTI supply availability and need for storage capacity for shared wind and solar farms just the other day on a US govt energy site, where depending on your design you can enter all the variables.

However Logistics , clearances , safety factors and local constraints or regulations were not discussed.


Panels and rotor turbulence needs to be well above the weed and grazing clearances.



|improve this answer|||||

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.