The lockdown measure implemented to avoid spreading of the coronavirus has gently cleansed the sky and the environment, which propels the volume of power generation simultaneously. Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have discovered that Delhi of India, known for its smog, has experienced unprecedentedly clear sky after the national lockdown, where the solar power generation had increased by 8.3% during late March, and the power generation also increased by 5.9 in April.
Although the increase in the power generation seems to be on the low end, it did manage to exceed the anticipation by 3-4 times within a short period, and also succeeded in further elevating the profit of solar systems by fivefold. Scientists at MIT pointed out that the study quantitatively reduced the air pollution on solar power generation for the first time, and the study is also applicable on the solar systems from various locations.
It had been rather difficult to implement this specific type of experiment in the past due to the premise of improvement in the local air pollution status. Under the raging of the COVID-19 pandemic recently, many countries have begun executing stay-at-home orders and movement control orders in order to prevent from cluster infection, and citizens are not allowed to go out apart from buying supplies or during emergency situations that resulted in less vehicles on the streets, steep decline in flights, and hindrance in industrial progression, which has alleviated the air pollution problem.
Take the data indicated by the Copernicus Sentinel-5P of the European Space Agency as an example; the degree of air pollution in partial European cities has experienced a YoY reduction of 45-50%, and the solar power generation in the 3 major countries of UK, Spain, and Germany has also broke new records. The Sheffield Solar data of Sheffield University indicates that the solar power generation in the UK reached to 9.68GW on Monday, where the highest record previously was the 9.55GW during May 2019.
Scientists at MIT believe that the main factor is the abnormal bright weather, rather than the substantial reduction in air pollution, thus MIT has changed the research subject to India, where air pollution has been severe for a prolonged period. The previous study indicated that the pollution in Delhi had led to a 10% reduction in the output of the solar system, which exacerbated the power generation efficiency and economic benefits, and the new study pointed out that the level of air pollution in Delhi has decreased by 45-50% when compared to the same period from 2017 to 2019 since the lockdown that began from March 24th.
After the enemy of solar power, air pollution, has been mitigated, the power generation saw an increase of 8.3% in late March, and 5.9% in April. Mechanical engineering professor Tonio Buonassisi commented that this study provides a portal in probing into a world with drastically reduced air pollution, where the study personnel also expressed that solar power is able to form into a positive feedback loop, and the more solar panels are installed, the further the power generation of the solar system can be propelled, after the air pollution issue is improved.
Ian Marius Peters, author of the thesis, commented that this is a quantitative assessment, and benchmark can be established through this model, whether the location is prone to air pollution or not.
(Cover photo source: MIT)