California Wildfire Smoke Has Weakened the Generation of Solar Energy

In September 2020, CAISO or California Independent System Operator reported that the average solar power generated has decreased by almost 30% from July 2020 as a result of the wildfires that occurred in California. The generation of solar-powered electricity covers 90% of the solar capacity in utility-scale in the state.

Smoke from wildfires has minute airborne particles that usually measure 2.5 micrometers or smaller. Therefore, these particles can decrease the amount of sunlight that enters the solar panels. As a result, there is also a decrease in the generation of solar electricity.

As of September 28th, it has been estimated that around 3.6 million acres of land have been burned because of the wildfires in California. This is the same size as Connecticut.

The California Air Resources Board mentioned that in the middle of August, there was an increase in pollution and reached an all-time high on September 15th since the year 2000.

Even though many of the solar capacities in California are located in the southern half and the biggest wildfires occur in the northern and central parts, seaward winds move the smoke to the southern part. Cal Fire reported on September 28th that 45% of the biggest wildfire in the history of California has been controlled.

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