BEIJING: A recent research published in the journal Nature Energy suggests that China’s highly polluted atmosphere is blocking the sun’s rays, which prevents solar panels from harvesting energy efficiently.
China’s rapid economic expansion was largely fueled by coal, which lifted millions of people out of poverty but also drove up levels of air pollution.
Bart Sweerts, Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science, Zurich, mapped the effect of China’s air pollution on potential solar output from the 1960s up to 2015.
The analysis of the research findings stated that the average solar generation declined by between 11-15 per cent over the period. Researchers estimates that a return to the air-quality levels of the 1960s could result in an increase in solar electricity harvests of more than 12 per cent.
According to the World Health Organization, 90 per cent of the global population breathes air containing high levels of pollutants. Every year, the problem contributes to more than 7 million deaths, with exposure highest in developing countries. The average concentration of PM2.5 in Chinese cities is 48 micrograms per cubic meter of air more than double that of the 19 mcg world average of 2,626 cities.