Emissions, aerosols negatively affect PV productivity, say Australian engineers

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From pv magazine Australia

Researchers from the UNSW School of Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering have mapped PV productivity across future emissions scenarios in various parts of the world, with a focus on maximizing potential and minimizing costs in warmer climates.

Greenhouse gases affect climate change and global temperatures, but the study identifies additional impacts of aerosols on global horizontal irradiance (GHI). The study assessed the role of aerosols and cloud cover, along with temperature, solar radiation, and wind speed.

In addition to applying different emissions models over different world regions, the research also investigated the difference between mono-crystalline silicon (mono-Si) and thin-film modules to find out which would be more beneficial under different future climate scenarios. This is significant, of course, since mono-Si modules are dominant in the market but thin-film modules are more resilient to warmer climates, highlighting the importance of improving thermal management in PV modules. In Australia, for example, PV reductions were shown to be significant for mono-Si but not for thin film.

The study’s models reflecting different emission-level scenarios made such differences clear across global regions. The study found that, with increasing climate change, solar resources increased in West and Central Europe, South America, and Central North America. In contrast, global horizontal irradiance (GHI) reductions were predicted in northeast Africa, the Tibetan plateau and South Asia.

Image: University of New South Wales, Renewable Energy, Creative Commons License CC BY 4.0

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