The Implications of Dust & Air Pollution on the Efficiency of Solar Energy

Solar power or photovoltaic power is a technology that has been harnessed over the years to solve energy problems. Here, a metal is hit by light which causes electrons to be either received or released depending on the metal. It is based on this that electrons move through a conductor where electricity is produced. Hence, for the purpose of generating electricity, solar panels are very effective. They last very long, reliable, and do not require the addition of any natural resources once they are constructed. The electricity generated through solar panels is at a fixed cost as long as it is in use. Depending on location, some solar panels are very great where they are, due to the amount of direct sunlight that it receives, making it necessary to install one for your use.

All over the country, many people and industries are embracing the use of solar panels and so has become one of the fastest growing energy sources globally. In the nearest future, whether it is a large utility-scale company or residential rooftop panels, the demand for solar panels will require more construction. However, despite numerous setbacks solar panels have encountered in the past like inefficient grid systems, inconsistency and shortfalls in various national policies on power, and the occasional eclipse, scientists have recently pointed out in a study of a new challenge that presently affects the efficiency of solar panels, and that is air pollution.

This is because, in certain parts of the world, the continuous accumulation of dust and particulate matter on solar panels has the capability of reducing the efficiency and energy output of solar panels by more than 25 percent. Based on the publication in the Journal of Environmental Science and Technology Letters, the study pointed out that regions like China, India and the Arabian Peninsula, where the largest investments in solar energy are situated, are the most prone to this challenge.

Also in another study, it was also revealed that air pollution and dust are major challenges that have befallen the solar energy industry making the output from solar panels to reduce just as the energy losses from this has become costly. Natural sources like windswept soils produce dust but much of this comes from human activities like car driving, powering factories, and coal conversion to electricity. Haze comes from dust and other air pollutants and this has a way of darkening the sky, acting as a light filter. When this happens, the amount of sunlight reaching solar energy panels is greatly reduced leading to a reduction in electricity production by the solar collectors. As a result of this, it is estimated that across parts of India, China, and the Arabian Peninsula, pollution in this like manner can cut electricity from solar energy by 17 to 25 percent. It is worthy to note that pollutant particles in the planet that perhaps lands on the flat surface of solar panels have the same effect that dust has on electricity generation from solar energy.

In a statement attributable to Michael Bergin, the lead author of the study and a professor of civil and environmental engineering at the Duke University, he said, “my colleagues in India were displaying some of their rooftop solar installations, and I noticed how dirty the panels were, this blew me away.” He then concluded that the dirt must affect the efficiency of the solar panel, but because there were no studies that can be used to estimate such losses, he set out to develop a model that can help estimate that. Together with his counterparts from the Indian Institute of Technology – Gandhinagar, Bergin was able to quantify the level of efficiency of the school’s photovoltaic solar panels especially when they heavily covered with grime (dust) for several months.



The chemical composition of this grime indicated that 92 percent of it came from natural dust while human activities such as fossil-fuel and biomass combustion contributed the remaining 8 percent. No matter how small the contribution from human activities might look, it can gradually result in greater energy loss as indicated by Bergin. Quoting him, “the man-made particles are small and sticky, and this makes them more difficult to clean off. He also added that these smaller particles are more efficient in blocking sunlight than natural dust.” Bergin, however, warned that though there could be gainful 50 percent upsurge in energy generation after scrubbing the panels, constant cleaning could increase the risk of permanent damage to the panel.

China is currently where more than half of the world’s new solar panels are installed continuously, and there are impending losses of tens of billions of dollars in solar energy investment every year due to heavy pollution coming from human-made particles in some parts of that country. Various studies in eastern China confirm that the impact of fossil fuel is by far more than what is coming from natural dust. Air pollution, is therefore a major issue because of about 11 gigawatts of electricity being lost to total production. This is the full power output of 50.6 million photovoltaic solar panels which equals 5,500 large-scale wind turbines or 1,100 coal-fired power plants that would have powered 1.1 billion LED light bulbs.

No doubt, there is a significant quantity of energy being lost amounting to about $10 billion per year in China. As Bergin rightly noted, “there has been documented evidence of the danger of these pollutants on human health and climate change, it is now affecting solar energy panels. This is now a wake-up call to policymakers around the world to enforce controls on emissions.”  Also in India, there appears to be a cut in solar electricity by roughly 1 gigawatts or 1 billion watts as a result of air pollution with equal contributions from natural dust and human-generated pollution.

Conclusion :

Although regular cleaning of solar panels can help, cleaning the air will increase the result but it is challenging. It is by reducing pollutants that we can help our solar panels maintain efficiency. This reduction is achievable by using more of renewable sources of energy and enforcing policies that will reduce human-made emissions which have continually harmed everything in the environment.

 

5 Tips To Avoid Flu in Winter

How to help prevent

Flu is a very contagious disease that’s often confused with cold. Well, while the causative agents for cold are in hundreds of different viruses, flu is caused only by influenza virus of types A, B and C. Now, these viruses cause the large seasonal breaks and is soon arriving. While flu may be one of the most common diseases that is majorly seasonal, its effects are never so easy to bear. The feeling is just ‘bad’.

Surprisingly, many people take flu for granted and may not go to the hospitals. According to CDC research, it has been established that winter flu epidemic affects 3, 00,000 to 6, 00,000 people each year. It is further observed that of the number – 2, 00,000 people wind up in hospital and between 3,000 and 49,000 don’t survive.

With the above statistics, it is therefore important to take necessary preventive measures ahead of the impending break-out. Flu is the type of disease where prevention would be much better than just cure. Here is how to keep yourself and your family safe from flu during this season.

1. Get a flu shot

There are many misconceptions about flu shots. There are those who claim that it is better to suffer from flu than get a flu shot. This is majorly informed by other misconceptions about the shot especially on its side effects. The truth is that flu vaccine can keep you from getting sick with flu. Preventing it is better than suffering from it because the contempt towards flu can plunge you and your family into serious complications, hospitalization and even death. Its yearly vaccine of just about 6 months is recommended by CDC. This vaccine may vary yearly to meet the changes or ‘tricks’ that viruses may employ past the vaccine.

2. Clean your hands and keep them clean

The influenza viruses will mostly be carried by your hands to areas like your nose, eyes and ears. You may not know when and where you will come into contact with these flu causing pathogens. The best way to keep it away is to keep your hands clean. Always wash your hands to keep pathogens at bay. In case you cannot access soap, you can use alcohol-based hand rub as an alternative.

3. Always avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth

The spread of this flu can be avoided by not touching your eyes, nose or mouth. The break out of flu may have to restrict your hands movement around your face. Touching faces, with unclean hands, will definitely spread the germ. While it may be involuntary or spontaneous to say, it is only better that you avoid touching your face. For your children, make sure they have clean hands.

4. You should avoid close contact

This disease is contagious thus the need to avoid close contact with those who are already exhibiting symptoms of flu. This may require you to stay at home. It is also better that if you are already infected, you don’t stay in close contact with your family members so that you reduce the cost of treatment when it is spread to others.

5. Practice other good health habits

The control of flu depends majorly on the health habits that you employ during this break-out season. Before anyone is even infected, there are quite a number of precautions that you need to take. Always ensure that you clean and disinfect surfaces at home, work place or school. This will definitely leave your hands clean when you come into contact with them.

It is also advisable that you get plenty of sleep. You should ensure that your children are not drowsy to ensure they don’t touch their faces frequently and also prevent them from being physically active. During this time, it is medically advisable that you manage your stress, drink plenty of water or other healthy fluids. You should as well eat nutritious food.

Conclusion

It is cheap and convenient to avoid flu using the above measures than wait for it to stand in your way. Otherwise in case you have contacted it, know that you can spread it 7 days after the symptoms. The virus is also capable of surviving in your spit and mucus for a day before you start feeling bad. You therefore need to be keen not mess up everyone around you.

Inquire Into The Absolute Truth

When my oldest daughter learned how to speak, which was at a very young age, she had an insatiable tendency to inquire about the nature of things.  “Why is the sky blue?”  “Why don’t the animals have houses?” “Can we eat dirt?”  And on, and on, and on.  She literally drove us crazy with all her questions.   But, apparently, she was simply trying to figure things out so that she could efficiently operate in this world.  For her, it was easier to ask her parents, whom she had faith in, than to experientially try to figure everything out.

Similarly, when we inquire into the Absolute Truth, we must be like an innocent child:not dumb, but honest in our inquiry.  In other words, we must have a sincere desire to know the Truth, and a desire to dovetail our life so that it is in sync with the Truth.  In the Bhagavad Gita, the Supreme Lord states:

“Just try to learn the Truth by approaching a spiritual master. Inquire from him submissively and render service unto him. The self-realized soul can impart knowledge unto you because he has seen the Truth.”

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Back to Basics Series Part 2: The Search Continues…

At home, and at school, I was taught, and constantly reminded, that I needed to work hard and get good grades so that I could go to College.  Why?  So that I could get a degree, and with that degree, I could get a good paying job.  Why?  Because then I could afford to buy a nice house, a nice car, and attract a nice wife, and support nice children, and buy many of the nice comforts in life.  Why?  These things will make you happy.  After all, you don’t want to end up digging ditches for a living.  Can you imagine how miserable that would be?

Hummmm, I thought, maybe the ditch digger’s misery is no worse than the misery I would have to go through to get good grades, and to work my way through college, and to work for a corporation in order to get a good paying job, and to throw my hard earned money in buying goodies and people who may or may not make me happy?  After all, when I looked around at everyone in the neighborhood, they had all these things, yet, they didn’t seem to be very happy.  The next door neighbor was an alcoholic.  The man down the street, was a drug addict, another man had a gambling problem and was often visited by heavy looking thugs, several of the neighbors were engaged in wife swapping, my friends’ mothers were stressed out about the lines in their face or a couple gray hairs which made them look old, my parents were constantly bickering, and practically everyone was struggling to keep up the facade of being successful and happy.  And these were the country club set—the so-called successful people in life.  Did I really want to grow up and become like them?

infant-in-spirit

Shortly after graduating from high school, I realized I was not who I thought I was: a medium sized, 17 year old body, with brown hair, green eyes, and enough smarts and abilities to help me succeed in whatever endeavor I chose.  This was a very liberating realization, but at the same time, it was a death of sorts.  My attraction to the material world, and to all that was previously meaningful to me, was dwindling, dying away; and my attraction for the spiritual had been awakened.  It could be said that I had been reborn in the spirit.  But I was an infant in the spirit.  My spiritual knowledge was almost non-existent, and I didn’t know what to do—what action to take with this newly found world view.  Where does one begin when searching for his essence and function in life?

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Back to Basics Series Part 1: Simple Living High Thinking

Shortly after graduating from High School, my entire life was shattered. It was the summer of 1968 and, until then, I could have been a poster boy for the “All American role model.”  My grades were above average.  I was an all-around athlete. I’d been offered scholarships to several Universities, and I had realistic hopes of making the 1972 Olympic team as a pole vaulter.  I also had a nice girl friend, and was welcomed in just about any click at school: the so-called in-crowd, the jocks, the surfers, the nerds, the 4-Hers and most of the others. I’m not trying to brag or anything, just stating that I was basically your average all American Joe,and that life was going relatively well.  Of course, life is seldom great in high school, but my future looked promising.  Then, to my dismay, everything dear to me fell apart and faded into oblivion.

my-future-looked-promising

By the end of June, I had moved out of my parent’s home and rented a house with some friends. Like most kids with newly found freedom, we were in the party mood. At one of those parties, I got a little too intoxicated; and feeling dizzy, I sat down alone and leaned against a wall. My roommate was playing his guitar nearby, and my somewhat altered mind was quickly captured by its wonderful sounds. I had never heard such beautiful music before.

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Authority: Real And Apparent

Learning is a vital part of human existence. Whether it is learning on a physical, emotional, intellectual, artistic, or spiritual level, every single person has had to learn something from someone or somewhere. It is engrained into our psyche to learn from others who have more experience than ourselves. It is a natural instinct to watch and learn, or to inquire from others on how something is done. Children at a young age will ask a million questions.kids ask questions - learning from others

Throughout the different stages of life we grow, and with that growth our inquiries also grow from simple questions to deeper ones. And most of the time there is always someone available to answer our questions. But sometimes we might learn the answers ourselves through our experiences, through our own self discovery.

But nonetheless learning from those more knowledgeable than us is always present.

We learn from our parents, from our friends, from our teachers, from our peers, from our co-workers, from our bosses, from our spouses, etc. The learning never stops and neither do the questions.

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Oh, The Tangled Web We Weave

“SEVEN seconds, my dear friends.  SEVEN seconds.  That’s how long it would take for Mr. Browser to click away from or go on clicking towards YOU—your company, your product,” said the Facial-Care-faced guy in an impeccably tailored pin-striped GQ-inspired suit, some hotshot guru for business and market development in Asia Pacific for a leading net-system software.

“Ergo, marketing strategies have to be calculated at lightning pace. Throw away all you learned at business school,” added this amiable vanguard of the WorldWide Mess—er, Mesh.  “Don’t you ever doubt it: businesses will inevitably have to formulate new models at breathtaking speed.  Oh yes.  It’s a whole new ballgame.  An exciting, challenging ride to a great new world of unimaginable opportunities. Grab every chance you get.  You snooze, you lose.”

It wouldn’t be wild to surmise that almost the entire audience of dry-cleaned, cellphone-infected, espressoed-out yup-yup-yuppies listening to him that day were as awestruck as I at the forecast on the imminent tidal web—er, wave of internetization coming to sweep us into a world of clicking relationships.

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Make Fitness Enjoyable

There are so many people these days who have a negative mindset towards health and fitness; this is so unfortunate because on the contrary, it is the exact opposite.  Yes, there are many fanatics out there who are putting out negative messages to people, giving extreme advice to do fad diets and exercise routines that are unreasonable but this is not what’s necessary to live a happy, healthy life. If you simply think of fitness as a lifestyle, you can reach your goals happily and without suffering.

fitness lifestyle

The first step to obtaining a balanced life is to start taking small steps towards your goals. For example, replace something that is not healthy in your meal with something green. Instead of zoning out on your phone for twenty minutes, go on a little walk in nature and do a little yoga to get your blood cells flowing. Just the other day I was reading an article from some fitness personality that was saying that you should go on the treadmill rather than walking or jogging outside because you’re less likely to burn the necessary calories. As this may work for some people who think with calculating methodical mindsets, those of us with a more whimsical approach to life just cannot process this positively. Instead of slurping down that soda that’s full of sugar keeping those pesky pounds hanging around, make yourself a refreshing water infusion with lemon and mint. Remember that being extreme is a double edged sword, therefore moderation is your friend in the beginning.

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5 Reasons You Need Yoga In Your Life

We all need something. Whether it’s a cup of coffee, a trip to the movies, or a sandwich, we all need something. Often times the things we actually need are elusive to us. Running through the hectic chaos that we call modern life, we often overlook the simple way of life. A quiet moment of peace, a walk in the park, or even your everyday sunset. We know we are missing something, but we’re either too busy to get it, or we are too focused on the hundreds of other distractions that arise daily. One thing we could all benefit from is a healthy dose of yoga now and again.

Here are 5 reasons you need yoga in your life right now

  1. Mental clarity – the power of being in the now
  2. Emotional peace and balance – whether in our personal or professional lives
  3. Physical Strength and Longevity – being in touch with your body leads to long term health
  4. Self-awareness – being in tune with how your environment is affecting you
  5. Self-discipline – being able to set goals and stick to them.

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Death by Overdose

I just read a figure that shocked me.  In the US over 40,000 people die from drug overdoses each year.  To be accurate, the last available statistic was 46,471 overdose deaths in 2013.  For comparison there were 35,369 car accident deaths.  In fact in many countries, including the UK, and Australia, over dose deaths overshadow road deaths.   This implies a huge number of people hooked on some type of mind altering substance, either illicit, or prescription.  In fact, prescription drug abuse is the larger part of the problem. The US Drug Enforcement Agency recently reported that prescription medication abuse is higher than use of cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, MDMA and PCP combined, and kills more people than heroin and cocaine combined.  And then there is that elephant in the room; alcohol abuse.   Oh yes, we will admit there is a problem with alcoholism, but that is not us of course, not in our room.  The fact that 6 o’clock comes and I’m anxious if there is no sight of my favored tipple, is nothing to do with addiction!

International-Overdose-Awareness-Day-1

Actually we all take shelter in something, even if it is as innocuous as chips and the watching of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” or whatever other mind filler the black screen can offer up, or reading the latest trivia on our favored internet channel. So we can’t consider ourselves “better” than a drug addict.  It’s just that our situation appears less immediately dangerous.  We don’t tend to die from TV overdose.

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