Atmospheric particulate matter a threat to India’s solar projects

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.

By: Express News Service | Ahmedabad | Published:June 29, 2017 4:43 am

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.”

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  1. S
    Sivakumar
    Jul 3, 2017 at 12:18 am
    'Solar -Agroculture' good Nishant
    Reply
  2. N
    Nishant
    Jul 2, 2017 at 10:17 pm
    Unfortunately no more comments have appeared on this important topic, so I have decided to carry on. A new generation of agricultural science needs to evolve, which will study effects of shading by solar panels on the growth of different vegetables. It would need to study variables like distance between the panels, their orientation with respect to sun, particular crop variety with its radius of spread, distance of plants from the edges of panels, amount of drip irrigation etc being variables to optimize the produce. Even space below the panels could be used to grow shade loving plants, or prevent plants from dying due to otherwise excessive heat. One may envision, that a future software would predict optimal ways to produce crops along with solar panels, and give useful suggestions for different la udes, soil types, and amount of rainfall in that location. Global parti tion of agricultural universities should speed up this process, as similar conditions exist in different areas.
    Reply
  3. N
    Nishant
    Jun 30, 2017 at 9:16 pm
    Dust is no problem for solar panel power plants erected in specially chosen areas. Actually, it could be a blessing. Let's see how...if solar plants are erected on wastelands not too far from some source of water, the panels could be cleaned from drip irrigation mechanism which would also water space in between the panels where vegetables are growing. Such solar plants could generate millions of jobs for farmers. This idea is so radical...that if farmers unite in areas of low fertility, that they may choose this method of 'solar-agroculture' (a new term that I have come up instantly) as an alternative to using their agricultural land. This would involve innovative mechanisms to integrate with the grid, and farmers could also be policing the electric consumption against theft, as it would lower the collections.
    Reply
  4. E
    Employ Ment
    Jun 30, 2017 at 4:12 pm
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