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Impacts of a photovoltaic power plant for possible heat island effect

Today, solar energy conversion technologies take a significant place within the efforts of obtaining renewable and sustainable energy around the world, and show a rapid progress. One of the most common technologies is photovoltaic power plants (PVPP) which are built using PV modules that provide electricity directly from sunlight. These plants are qualified as one of the pioneering applications among clean energy production methods. However, as the modules cover large areas and as they are produced by mostly dark-colored solar cells, an environmental debate has already been opened via some recent studies in the literature: Do they alter the solar reflectivity (albedo) of the region's surface where they are installed, and in turn affect the typical microclimate characteristics of that region such as the local air temperatures, humidity, pressure and wind speed? Considering also the additional heat that the modules radiate while producing electricity, the main probable result should be expected as Heat Island Effect (HIE). HIE has been particularly discussed for about last 10 years. Basically, this effect defines the day-night and inter-seasonal variations of local temperatures due to artificial changes on the natural land surface. Accordingly, when an urbanized area is compared with the neighboring rural areas, the difference is specifically named as Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect. In the present work, we are conducting a field research with in-situ measurements taken by the two weather monitoring stations inside and outside a PVPP in the district Tavsanli (Kutahya, Turkey). We also provide the meteorological data of Tavsanli station from Turkish State Meteorological Service (TSMS), which is the nearest weather monitoring station to the PVPP under inspection. These stations have been collecting the data of air temperature, relative humidity, average wind speed and atmospheric pressure every 10 minutes since October 2017. We used two statistical methods to compare and interpret the first 8-month data of all the three stations. We considered the statistical significance tests for both the first 8 months as a whole and dividing it into two 4 months before and after the PVPP becomes operational. We found that the measurements of the three stations differ significantly for most of the weather parameters. We also carried out pairwise tests and showed that each pair has significant differences for most parameters.