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We’re glad of our heating in winter. Greenhouse vegetables are too.

But rooftop solar panels made from silicon cells can’t be used here to generate electricity sustainably. Because they take the light away from the plants.

That’s why US researchers have been investigating the use of organic solar cells (OSCs). These require only a limited colour spectrum to generate energy.

Experiments with salad showed that plants grew just as well when nourished exclusively by the color spectrum left unused by the OSCs. Further tests are set to follow.

Even if OSCs provide half the energy supplied by silicon cells, initial results are highly promising. Because greenhouses mean less water and fewer pesticides.

A ray of light for vegetable growers.

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