Accumulation of fine solid particles or liquid droplets in air – aerosol- besides dust and cloud on photovoltaic and rooftop solar installations drastically reduce solar power generation causing annual financial losses up to Rs 1.55 million, a team of Indian and international scientists have concluded.
The team of scientists from Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES), Nainital, an autonomous research institute of the Department of Science and Technology (DST) in India and National Observatory of Athens (NOA), Greece have also estimated the loss due to dust and cloud alone to be around Rs 0.56 and 2.47 million.
The finding, according to these scientists, is likely to ‘help the Indian solar energy producers and the electricity handling entities for efficient transmission and distribution system operations and grid stability optimization.’
Scientists’ finding is the result of a study on the impact of aerosols and clouds on the solar energy potential over a high-altitude remote location in the central Himalayan region with analysis and model simulations.
With India aiming to generate 100 GW (Giga Watt) of solar energy by 2022, experts say the findings by an international team of scientists is likely to help the stakeholders find a way out of financial loss due to reduction in solar power generation.
The research led by Dr Umesh Chandra Dumka (Scientist, ARIES, Nainital, India) along with the contributions by Prof Panagiotis G Kosmopoulos (Scientist, NOA, Greece), Dr Shantikumar S Ningombam (Scientist, IIA Bangalore, India), and Akriti Masoom (Faculty, IIT Roorkee, India) provide a comprehensive investigation of the impact of aerosols and clouds on solar energy production over the region, a ministry of Science and Technology note said.
According to scientists clouds and aerosols limit the solar irradiance causing performance issues in the PV and CSP plant installations. They stress planning for achieving the large-scale development of a solar system. They also underline the need for estimating the solar potential.
The scientists are now planning to connect the solar energy production levels and distribution with the consumption at selected local administrative units across the country and quantify the aerosol and cloud effects into the solar forecasting and energy trading principles for a decentralized energy ecosystem.