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Effects of air pollution on India's solar power generation

Source : Phys.Org

Notes by Narsi

The horrifying health costs for India from air pollution are well known - it is responsible for about 18% (about 17 lakhs annually) of ALL DEATHS in the country, and that’s plain scary.

A relatively smaller benefit from reducing air pollution could be the higher yields from solar power plants, according to the research results presented in the report above. The estimate suggests India could be losing over 25% of solar electricity yields because of air pollution, which could be about 20 billion units of electricity a year, with reasonable assumptions - or about 60 billion rupees (6000 crores) per year, taking Rs 3/unit for solar power.

A World Bank study ( ) mentions India plans to spend about $1.7 billion over a five-year period to significantly reduce air pollution, so that would be about Rs 12500 crores or about 2400 crores per year.

One can easily see how just the increased yields from the solar PV sector alone could offset these costs! 

This case study once again brings to the fore something that most traditional financial managers do not consider - the highly interdependent nature of many components of our natural and societal ecosystems. In this case, investments in air pollution could pay back not only through reduced overall healthcare costs (the usual metric used) but also from other avenues such as solar power plants - it is quite possible there are a few other such payback avenues!

See all Insights from: Renewable Energy


  • Environmental sciences
  • Material sciences
  • Policy-making
  • Renewable energy sciences