A study conducted by Indian and American researchers measured for the first time the effect of smog and dust deposition on the efficiency of solar cells in the world’s third largest polluter, India – an unexpectedly huge 25 to 30 percent of power is lost, equivalent to 3,900 megawatts, which is six times the capacity of its largest solar farm with size 2.5 million panels.
With the country’s pledge to acquire at least 40 percent of its electricity from renewable sources, its solar cell installation projects have been increasing rapidly that it may exceed Japan in solar market ranking.
However, this unprecedented progress would also mean an enormous amount of money lost, billions of dollars, because of the current air pollution.
Aside from robotic wipers, a suggested solution to the grime deposition problem in solar cells is the coating marketed by Jinko Solar, a Chinese photovoltaic cell manufacturer, that is designed to prevent dust and grime to amass on solar panels. However, this would only act as an immediate, short-term action to the problem, because the real root cause is the uncontrolled man-made air pollution.
As Chinmay Goroi, associate professor at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) said, “Now that we have identified that air pollution is one of the biggest culprits… if we tackle that, we’ll kill two problems together.”