Tags: Climate Change | Global Warming | china | solar panels | energy | air pollution

Study: China's Air Pollution Cuts Solar Panel Effectiveness

Study: China's Air Pollution Cuts Solar Panel Effectiveness
Architecture can barely be seen in heavy smog in Jilin, northwest China. (Rex Features/AP)

By    |   Monday, 23 October 2017 10:08 PM

China's goal of having solar power provide 10 percent of the nation's electricity by 2030 has dimmed: Air pollution is blocking up to 20 percent of the sun's rays from reaching those panels.

According to a Princeton University study, the situation is worst in the northern and eastern parts of the country.

The study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found aerosol pollution is cutting the solar-generated electricty potential by one and a half kilowatt-hour per square meter per day. That is up to 35 percent, or enough to power a vacuum cleaner for one hour or run a laptop for five to 10 hours, according to a press release on the study.

"Developing countries with severe air pollution that are rapidly expanding solar power, such as China and India, often neglect the role of aerosols in their planning, but it can be an important factor to consider," said the study's lead author, Xiaoyuan (Charles) Li, a Ph.D. candidate in Princeton's Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

Li said the study's findings should move countries such as China and India to reduce aerosol emissions more quickly, cutting the need for fossil fuels which generate the pollution in the first place.

Further, the findings could be used to advise countries on where to place solar panels. The heaviest pollution is in industrialized areas, so newer panels could be placed in rural places where more sunlight can reach them. If enough extra energy can be generated it would offset the cost of transmitting the electricity from rural areas to urban areas where it is needed.

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China's air pollution is blocking up to 20 percent of the sun's rays from reaching solar panels the country hoped would provide 10 percent of the nation's electricity by 2030.
china, solar panels, energy, air pollution
267
2017-08-23
Monday, 23 October 2017 10:08 PM
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