- Particulate matter – dust, black carbon and organic carbon from biomass burning and fossil fuel – deposited on solar panels and present in the ambient air is responsible for about 17% reduction in solar power generation in India.
- This translates to the reduction of about 2 Gigawatts (GW) in solar power production for about 12 GW installed solar power capacity.
- The Centre has set an ambitious renewable energy target of 175 GW by 2022.
- Dust and non-dust particulate matter deposited on solar panels and present in the air prevent shortwave solar radiation from reaching the panels, thereby reducing energy production.
- dust accounted for 92% while the remaining fraction was composed of organic carbon, black carbon and ions produced from sources linked to human activity.
- However, dust has less influence in reducing solar energy production compared with man-made particles.
- The man-made particles are also small and sticky, making them much more difficult to clean off.