By Jasmin Malik Chua
From inefficient grids, shortfalls in policy, and even the occasional eclipse, solar-energy collection faces no shortage of hurdles. Scientists have discovered another stumbling block: air pollution.
Published last week in the journal Environmental Science & Technology Letters, the study revealed that the regions most susceptible to this challenge also have the heaviest solar investments. These regions include China, India and the Arabian Peninsula.
“My colleagues in India were showing off some of their rooftop solar installations, and I was blown away by how dirty the panels were,” Michael Bergin, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Duke University and lead author of the study, said in a statement. “I thought the dirt had to affect their efficiencies, but there weren’t any studies out there estimating the losses. So we put together a comprehensive model to do just that.”
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