Study: The clean air from COVID-19 shutdowns made solar panels more productive

Fast Company discusses how The clean air from COVID-19 shutdowns made solar panels more productive. Clearer skies make for more sun on panels, which starts a virtuous cycle: less pollution to block the panels in the future.

When COVID-19 forced Delhi into lockdown, residents reported a surprising benefit: blue skies and cleaner air. People in the world’s most polluted city said they could breathe better and reported using their inhalers less. The drop in air pollution provided another perk, as well: solar panels were able to produce more power.

“In very polluted cities like Delhi or Shanghai, air pollution reduces the amount of sunlight coming through the atmosphere by about 10%,” says Ian Marius Peters, a research scientist at MIT’s Photovoltaics Lab and coauthor of a new paper, published in the journal Joule, that looks at the impact of Delhi’s COVID-19 lockdown on solar power output.

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