India’s pursuit towards green energy, upholding solar as the tool to build an energy rich future has translated into nearly 12 GW cumulative installed solar capacity in 2017. Considering, that the country stood at 5 GW of capacity in 2015, it is commendable how Indian solar industry has progressed more than doubling the capacity within a bit more than a year. With set targets being achieved, India is constantly trying to increase the capacity of installation for faster green energy transition. It is a smart decision considering the demand for solar in the whole world to save the environment and reduce raising energy cost.
Solar Can save The Environment
Global energy supply through fossil fuels have reached from 6,100 million tonnes of oil equivalent (Mtoe) in 1977 to 13,700 Mtoe by 2014. Moreover, alongside China, and the United States of America, India is one of the top coal-related CO2 emitters, speculated to contribute more than 70% of global CO2 emissions cumulatively in future. Research shows that energy-related CO2 emissions in the world will increase from 32.3 billion metric tons in 2012 to ultimately reaching 43.2 billion metric tons in 2040, if we continue using fossil fuels.
On the other hand, utilizing renewable energy has helped Japan to phase out fossil fuel usage, displaying a decline in CO2 emission by 0.4%/year. Research also suggests that increase in renewable energy (mainly solar) has reduced fossil fuel share by 22 per cent. In the same breath we need to highlight that 1 KW of green energy can reduce more than 3,000 pounds of CO2 annually. So, it is pretty clear that green energy shift is the only thing that can protect us for a dystopian energy starved future.
Pollution Curbing Solar Growth
Although solar is growing globally, a new study has revealed that dust and particulate matter (PM) may be reducing energy yield by 17-25 per cent annually in Northern parts of India. The dust particles create a barrier between sunrays and the solar panels, reducing the exposure to the sun, thus declining energy yield. Since the simple enough technology of solar panels depend on ambiance to capture and harvest energy, ambient pollution can create significant problem for solar yield generation.
In the same breath, we can highlight that similar issues have been identified around the world. For instance, solar panels in Baghdad were seen to be producing less and less energy due to dust particles blocking the sunrays and creating a layer over the panel. Even a fine layer of dust, practically unnoticeable on the solar panels are shown to decline the energy generation by 18.74% annually. Studies also show that poor air quality was the reason behind 15-25% yield loses in Singapore in 2013.
At this point of discussion, it is crystal clear that pollution is not just an eminent threat to our environment, it is also halting solar growth, which is the only viable option for us to build an energy rich future. In order to ensure continued efficiency of performance for the solar power system, the best possible solution would be to frequently clean the panels, wiping out the barrier created of fine dust particles that are rarely visible to the naked eye. As studies show a whopping 50 per cent increase on energy generation after every clean up, the process would be more than enough to solve the yield reduction problem.
In an ideal world, we all would have taken aggressive steps to phase out fossil fuel much sooner than expected, to help clean, green, solar grow. But in the present circumstances, the best alternative would be to increasingly adopt solar energy with a futuristic outlook, and bearing in mind the broader benefits that it would entail, including the environmental implications. Hopefully, with the phenomenal growth of solar and renewable energy across the globe, the use of fossil fuels could become a distant memory in time, for green energy (mainly solar) to acquire the mainstay position.