How solar power can improve air quality in Mexico

If you’ve ever lived in or visited Mexico, you’re probably already aware of its air quality issues. Sadly, 20,000 people a year die from air pollution in Mexico City. This problem doesn’t just affect residents south of the border. Pollution from Mexico actually drifts over the border and into the Imperial Valley in California. This is one reason why children in the Imperial Valley are taken to the emergency room for Asthma attacks at one of the highest rates in the state. Thankfully, solar power can be part of the solution to Mexico’s air quality issues.

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Why Mexico’s air quality is so bad

The lack of air quality regulation in Mexico results in higher emissions from power plants, transportation, and industrial activity. Those emissions include harmful particles such as sulfur dioxide, ammonium dioxide, and nitrogen oxides. People living in Mexico’s large cities have it especially bad since there are more vehicles that produce a lot of pollution.

Thankfully things are changing. Mexico recently established a market for clean energy certificates. The marketplace is intended to increase the amount of electricity generated from zero-emission sources.

What is being done about Mexico’s air quality

Limit driving: To fight air pollution, Mexico City limits how much driving people are allowed to do in the city. Under the city’s program, all privately-owned cars must stay off the road one day per week plus one additional Saturday per month. This program has had limited effectiveness because city residents ignore the rule or bribe officials to skirt it.

New regulations for engines in heavy-duty vehicles: One of the worst sources of pollution are the engines in heavy trucks and buses. They produce large amounts of black carbon. Black carbon produces soot particles which are very harmful to the lungs.

More progress is needed: Reducing emissions from trucks and busses is a good start. But Mexico still needs to adopt light-vehicle emissions standards. Cars are a major source of pollution and that must be dealt with to clear the air.

Solar power has a bright future in Mexico

According to PV Magazine, Mexico’s installed solar capacity passed 3 gigawatts in January of 2019. That power is produced by both large-scale solar plants and distributed home and commercial systems. Solar power is seeing phenomenal growth in Mexico. By the end of 2018, over 85,000 residential and commercial energy users had gone solar. Since the average solar home prevents 300 tons of pollution from getting into our breathable air, this is a good start to combat the air quality issue. 

As of June 2019, installed capacity had reached over 4 gigawatts. Solar growth in Mexico is accelerating. Currently, more than 50,000 people work in the solar sector in Mexico. 

Thanks to rapidly increasing solar capacity, Mexico has a good chance to become a world leader in solar energy.

According to PV Magazine, Mexico’s installed solar capacity passed 3 gigawatts in January of 2019. That power is produced by both large-scale solar plants and distributed home and commercial systems. Solar power is seeing phenomenal growth in Mexico. By the end of 2018, over 85,000 residential and commercial energy users had gone solar. As of June 2019, installed capacity had reached over 4 gigawatts. Solar growth in Mexico is accelerating. Currently, more than 50,000 people work in the solar sector in Mexico. Thanks to rapidly increasing solar capacity, Mexico has a good chance to become a world leader in solar energy.

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