UNDERSTANDING THE ILL EFFECTS OF AIR POLLUTION ON SOLAR PV GENERATION!



Air pollution has been a major concern around the world and South East Asian countries are no exception to it. From affecting human health to affecting the visibility of the surroundings, air pollution affects almost all the natural cycles. Considering solar PV module, it is a well-known fact that they work on the principle of photovoltaic effect i.e. electricity is generated when photons (from direct irradiance) falls onto it. While it was already clear that any form of obstacle hindering the light shall directly reduce the output from PV module, its exact value was unknown. A recent study undertaken by scientists at ETH Zurich and the University of Amsterdam considers a case of China and explains how air pollution has affected the output of solar PVF over due course of time. The researchers analyzed the data available from 1960 to 2015 and pointed that air pollution has led to skies being dimmed and thus reducing the level of irradiance by 11~15% over the years. China in 2016 could have generated around 14,000,000 units of electricity more which could directly increase its benefit from solar PV by USD 1.9 billion. This would further result into 51,000,000 to 74,000,000 units more by 2030. India which has a pollution pattern similar to its neighbor is expected to have a similar gains by curbing air pollution. The condition of electricity sector while improving, is still far from satisfactory. With such enhanced generation possible by curbing air pollution, we believe that the government should take adequate steps if we are to realize the true potential of solar PV.

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