Air Pollution & Solar Panels

According to Sagnik Dey, chair professor on the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi, atmospheric air pollution reduces solar energy technology in two methods: by absorbing and scattering the solar’s rays and by soiling photo voltaic panels.

Findings of Study:

According to a examine performed by IIT Delhi and printed in March in Environmental Research Letters, between 2001 and 2018, India misplaced 29 p.c of its photo voltaic vitality potential on account of atmospheric air pollution, amounting to an annual lack of $835 million. According to Mercom India, India had solely reached the midway level of fifty gigatonnes of put in photo voltaic capability as of March of this 12 months.

“To put it simply, aerosols, which include fine particulate matter, dust, mist, and fumes suspended in the air, significantly reduce incoming solar radiation in what we call the ‘atmospheric attenuation effect,” says Dey, one of many examine’s authors. “This must be considered when embarking on large solar energy projects.”

According to Dey, such tasks additionally fail to account for the “soiling effect” of aerosols depositing on photo voltaic panels, which prevents photo voltaic radiation from reaching the photovoltaic cells. “Because air pollution in South Asia is on the rise, both effects must be addressed and mitigation measures implemented to maximize the benefits of solar power installations,” he provides.

According to a earlier examine, particulate matter can scale back photovoltaic solar energy technology by greater than 50% in closely polluted areas, with nearly all of it inflicting panel soiling. Aerosols within the environment additionally work in opposition to solar energy technology by inflicting cloudiness and interfering with rainfall, which might wash particles away.

According to Bhupendra Das, an environmental researcher at Tribhuvan University in Kathmandu and the chair of Nepal Energy and Environmental Development Services, acid rain can corrode solar energy tools and assist buildings, rising upkeep prices.

Pollutants similar to sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides, that are primarily launched by means of industrial and vehicular emissions, trigger acid rain by rising excessive into the environment and mixing with water, oxygen, and different chemical compounds to kind corrosive acid droplets earlier than falling again as rain.

“Reducing air pollution would undoubtedly reduce smogginess, which can improve solar power generation, and modelling studies do suggest that polluted clouds have a longer lifetime and that aerosols inhibit precipitation,” Das tells SciDev.Net. “However, it is important to remember that cloudiness is caused by factors other than air pollution.”

The IIT Delhi examine proposes a set of measures that, if applied, might help the Indian authorities in assembly its photo voltaic vitality manufacturing targets. One of those is fastened panels which are optimally tilted to maximise photo voltaic radiation. Aerosol deposits don’t accumulate as simply on tilted panels as they do on horizontally set panels.

Articulated panels with monitoring mechanisms that consistently observe the solar are dearer than fastened panels however have the next resistance to aerosol deposit accumulation. According to the examine, atmospheric attenuation impacts all configurations.

According to the examine, the easiest way to extend photo voltaic vitality manufacturing is for the federal government to carefully implement authorities initiatives such because the National Clean Air Programme, which was launched in 2019 with the objective of lowering high-quality particulate matter (PM2.5) concentrations by 20 to 30 p.c by 2024 in comparison with 2017 ranges.

Mitigating air air pollution would “accelerate India’s progress toward achieving its solar energy target at a lower installation capacity, avoiding additional expenditure for solar energy infrastructure expansion,” in accordance with the examine.

According to the Swiss IQAir world air high quality report for 2021, the complete northern Indian subcontinent exceeds the WHO normal of 10 micrograms per cubic metre for particulate matter by seven to 10 instances.

For the fourth 12 months in a row, New Delhi was named the world’s most polluted capital metropolis by IQAir, and 34 different Indian cities have been named among the many world’s most polluted city centres.

According to IIT Delhi, that is the primary examine to quantify the affect of air pollution on solar energy technology in India, with earlier research specializing in the unfavorable results of poor air high quality on public well being and agricultural manufacturing.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here