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Photovoltaic power generation in times of the Coronavirus

Photovoltaic power generation in times of the Coronavirus

While the worldwide pandemic shocks with more distressing news every day, here some good news for a change: Air pollution in metropoles dropped and clear skies all around the world allow us to mark a new record in photovoltaic power.

The Coronavirus changes our everyday life entirely as schools must close, business is forced to shut down and people cannot go after their habits anymore. Streets and cities are swept empty and the usual traffic jam is from the old days.

Due to these enormous changes in human behavior, air pollution dropped significantly in metropoles where the load of PM2.5 (fine particle pollution) is historically considerably high. As a direct consequence of the lockdown metropoles like Delhi, Seoul or Mumbai showed a reduction of particulate matter up to 60% compared to the same period in 2019. Satellites also showed cleaner air over Canada and the USA. New York City recorded a decline of 50% of the toxic carbon monoxide compared to the average mean of 2019.

Photovoltaic power plants in Germany establish a new record in solar power generation

In pre-pandemic times, so studies showed, China lost about 13% of its photovoltaic potential slipping away due to anthropogenic emissions and air pollution. This percentage is equivalent to 14 Tera-Watt hours per year, enough to supply the whole city of Philadelphia with power for longer than 6 month.

Because of the change in human behavior and therefore the absence of extreme anthropogenic emissions in the last weeks air pollution dropped and skies cleared up. At the current moment solar power plants are producing more power watt than ever.

As consequence of the clean air but also the sunny and cloudless weather, on April 20, Germanys photovoltaic power plants produced 32 227 MW, establishing a new record.

Because of new photovoltaic installations every spring, peaks of solar yield are not unusual at this time of year. Still the Corona-clean-air is the factor that maximizes photovoltaic power generation to this high number.

This once again shows us that renewables and especially solar energy are a future-proof solution and winners even in the Corona-crisis.

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