A study by Duke University, IIT Gandhinagar and University of Wisconsin has revealed that India’s solar projects may face challenges due to high levels of particulate matter (PM) over Indian cities. India is currently the third largest energy consumer and under its new energy policy, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy is working on increasing the capacity of solar energy from 12.5 GW in 2017 to 100 GW by 2022.
The study, ‘Large reductions in solar energy production due to dust and particulate air pollution’ was conducted under Michael Bergin, professor of civil and environmental engineering at Duke University.
It showed that after each solar panel surface cleaning, which occurs every 20-30 days, power generation increased by almost 50 per cent. A 2 GW reduction can be observed for India’s installed capacity of 12.5 GW indicating that there is an urgent need to control the PM. Professor Bergin said, “We always knew these pollutants were bad for health and climate, but now we have shown how bad they are for solar energy. It is yet another reason for policy makers worldwide to adopt emission controls.”