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Study: economic damage to solar power operators, investors from air pollution could be billions of dollars annually

Findings in a study by researchers in the US and Singapore indicate that annual economic damage from air pollution to photovoltaic site operators and investors worldwide—specifically from the reduction in insolation resulting from PM2.5 concentrations—could be in the billions of dollars.

As reported in the journal Energy & Environmental Science, the team derived a straightforward approach to estimate air pollution-related losses to photovoltaic power generation anywhere on the planet.

For Delhi, they found that insolation received by silicon PV panels was reduced by 11.5% ± 1.5% or 200 kWh m−2 per year between 2016 and 2017 due to air pollution. Extending this analysis to 16 more cities around the planet, they estimated insolation reductions ranging from 2.0% (Singapore) to 9.1% (Beijing).

Considering current installation targets and local prices for electricity, we project that annual losses in revenue from photovoltaic installations could exceed 20 million USD for Delhi alone, indicating that annual economic damage from air pollution to photovoltaic site operators and investors worldwide could be billions of dollars.

—Peters et al.


  • I. M. Peters, S. Karthik, H. Liu, T. Buonassisi and A. Nobre (2018) “Urban haze and photovoltaics” Energy & Environmental Science doi: 10.1039/C8EE01100A



Add all pollution associated cost on other infrastructures and you could convince many to turn off CPPs, stop burning wood and cow manure and stop using ICEVs.

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