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Posted Sun Jun 6 2010: from Guardian:
Solar panels could be a threat to aquatic insects, new research shows
Solar panels could wipe out fragile populations of insects, according to a new study that raises fresh doubts about the ecological impact of some forms of renewable energy. Scientists have discovered that aquatic insects such as the mayfly can mistake shiny photovoltaic panels for pools of water, which they rely on to reproduce. They urge caution on the increasing use of panels until experts work out how they could affect insects and other creatures that feed on them.... "It is clear that the worst place to put a solar installation would be in proximity to natural lakes and rivers, where aquatic insects could easily become attracted to them." The insects mistake the panels for water because both reflect horizontally polarised light - an optical trick in which light waves vibrate in the same direction. Many insects have evolved to detect such polarised light as a sure way to find water, particularly in arid environments.
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