According to environment experts, the Sahara desert can be transformed into a green area by installation of large numbers of solar panels and wind turbines. They stated that wind turbines have the capability of doubling the amount of rainfall in the region which could help in reducing temperature and stimulating natural vegetation. According to the study which was published in Science journal, the research was carried out across 9 million sq.km of the Sahara desert which is sparsely populated and vastly exposed to sun and wind. Dr. Yan Li, who is the lead author of this report, stated that, as per their calculations, large installations in this region would generate four times the energy used currently across the world.
Though there had been studies in the past about effect of wind turbines and solar panels, this report has focused on its positive effects on vegetation. The model used during the study demonstrated that installation of large number of wind and solar energy absorption machines in the Sahel region of Sahara desert will precipitation and increase rainfall between 20mm to 500 mm every year. According to data collected by the study group in Sahel’s semi-arid region, presence of a large number of wind and solar farms has helped in increase of average rainfall by 1.2mm every day.
Wind turbines mix air due to blade rotation and a host of turbines in wind farms mix warm and cold air to create a loop to enable evaporation and precipitation which together lead to plant growth. Dr. Yan Li stated that wind farms lead to increase of wind convergence in low-pressure areas which causes air in the region to rise. Due to this action the moisture in the air condenses leading to rain. Solar panels reduce sunlight reflection from the earth surface due to “albedo effect” which enables increase in precipitation levels by almost 50 percent.