Call Us Now

+91 9606900005 / 04

For Enquiry

Decline in Solar Radiation Raises Concerns Amid Climate Change


As concerns about climate change mount, the significance of renewable energy sources such as solar power becomes increasingly evident. However, a recent study by scientists at the India Meteorological Department (IMD) has unveiled a troubling trend. It suggests that the quantity of solar radiation available for conversion into electricity by solar panels is decreasing in various locations across India.


GS III: Environment and Ecology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Key Highlights of the Study
  2. What are the Implications for India’s Solar Power Goals?
  3. Challenges and Impediments
  4. Path Forward

Key Highlights of the Study

Impact of Aerosols and Clouding on Solar Radiation:

  • Increased aerosol load from carbon emissions, fossil fuel burning, and dust, along with clouding, contribute to the decline in solar radiation.
  • Aerosols absorb sunlight and deflect it away from the ground, while also precipitating the formation of dense clouds that block sunlight.

Influence on Solar Panel Efficiency:

  • The efficiency of solar panels is significantly influenced by the amount of sunlight incident on them.
  • Decline in solar photovoltaic (SPV) potential is observed due to reduced solar radiation.

Decline in Solar Photovoltaic (SPV) Potential:

  • Analysis reveals a widespread decline in SPV potential across all monitored stations, including major cities like Ahmedabad, Chennai, and Mumbai.
  • SPV potential showed a general decline in all stations, including those located in India’s largest solar parks in Gujarat and Rajasthan.

Distribution of Global Solar Radiation (GR):

  • GR is maximum over northwest India and inland peninsular India, while minimum over extreme north and northeast India.
  • Reduction in GR is attributed to increased atmospheric turbidity and cloudiness, with monsoon clouds further reducing GR over most parts of India.

Variations in Diffuse Radiation (DR):

  • Diffuse radiation refers to solar radiation scattered by atmospheric particles, influenced by atmospheric conditions.
  • Significant increase in DR observed in more than 50% of stations, especially in northwest and some parts of peninsular India, attributed to increased atmospheric turbidity and cloudiness.

What are the Implications for India’s Solar Power Goals?

Current Status of India’s Solar Power Capacity:

  • India’s current installed solar power capacity stands at about 81 GW, which accounts for roughly 17% of the total installed electricity capacity.
  • Globally, India ranks 5th in solar power capacity, highlighting its significant contribution to renewable energy.

India’s Renewable Energy Goals:

  • India aims to source about 500 GW, nearly half of its electricity requirement, from non-fossil fuel sources by 2030.
  • This translates to a target of at least 280 GW of solar power capacity by 2030, requiring an addition of at least 40 GW annually until that year.

Challenges and Impediments:

  • Despite ambitious goals, India has struggled to meet its solar power targets, with annual additions barely crossing 13 GW in the last five years.
  • Hindrances such as the Covid-19 pandemic have impacted progress, although the country was on track to add between 25-40 GW annually in the coming years.
  • Other challenges include complexities in land acquisition, grid integration issues, slow growth of rooftop solar, limited availability of storage technology, and a need for more innovation in the sector.

Path Forward:

  • India needs to address these challenges effectively to accelerate the growth of its solar power sector and achieve its ambitious renewable energy targets.
  • This may involve streamlining regulatory processes, incentivizing investment in solar infrastructure, enhancing grid infrastructure, promoting research and development in storage technology, and fostering innovation in the sector.

-Source: The Hindu

May 2024