Containment measures aimed at reducing the spread of COVID-19 have brought clearer and cleaner skies across the world, increasing the efficiency of photovoltaic solar panels.
This is the conclusion of a study carried out in the capital of India, Delhi, which applied severe containment measures at the end of March to fight against the coronavirus.
Air pollution can block some of the light reaching panels and affect their electricity production capacity, as studies conducted in China, the world’s leading producer of this type of alternative energy, have already shown.
Containment measures applied in various parts of the world have seen an improvement in air pollution, such as in the Indian state of Punjab, where residents were able to see parts of the Himalayas for the first time in decades. .
Based on data on the concentrations of air pollution particles, called particulate matter or PM 2.5, collected at the U.S. Embassy in Delhi, the researchers found that the levels were halved from previous years. .
Delhi is one of the most polluted cities on the planet. Furthermore, India put in place a drastic and sudden lockdown at the start of the pandemic, resulting in sudden reductions in air pollution that make it easier to detect.
Ian Marius Peters, author of the study.
The study also showed that the levels of sunlight received by a solar panel in a residential area about 10 km from central Delhi were up to 8.3% higher than in previous years.
The team concluded that the reductions in air pollution and cleanliness allowed sunlight to pass more freely into the atmosphere, increase the performance of solar panels.
As a result, the researchers say the technology will continue to generate record amounts of electricity as long as air pollution levels remain low.
They also believe similar results can be seen in cities other than Delhi, with Wuhan in China where the coronavirus emerged.
The pandemic has been a dramatic event in many ways, and the world will emerge differently from before. We were able to glimpse the emergence of a world with better air and see that there might be an opportunity to “flatten the climate curve”. I believe that solar panels can play an important role and that in the future we will have more PV installations that can help generate a positive feedback loop which will result in clearer and cleaner skies.
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