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Worldwide Solar Energy Model Provides Historical PV Performance Data

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AARHUS, Denmark, July 2, 2019 — A model for how much energy photovoltaic (PV) systems produce worldwide has been developed by researchers at Aarhus University.

The researchers collected 38 years of global solar radiation, weather, and temperature data for the entire globe, and compared this with historical data for PV installations in Europe. For every European country, four different PV configurations (rooftop, optimum tilt, tracking, and delta) were investigated. To obtain PV time series, the researchers converted irradiance from a climate forecast system reanalysis data set into electricity generation and aggregated the data at the country level. Prior to conversion, reanalysis irradiance was bias corrected using satellite-based data and a globally applicable methodology.

The graphic shows the total solar energy production for all European countries in the period 2013-2017. Each tiny field represents a week's energy production: The brighter the color the more energy was produced. Courtesy of assistant professor Marta Victoria/Aarhus University.
The graphic shows the total solar energy production for all European countries in the period 2013-2017. Each tiny field represents a week’s energy production: The brighter the color the more energy was produced. Courtesy of assistant professor Marta Victoria.

Based on this work, the researchers developed a model that can inform scientists at global, regional, and local levels about the performance of PV installations in a given geography, depending on the type of facility being used. “This means we can look at not only a single installation, but at energy production in entire countries or continents from PV installations,” professor Marta Victoria said.

According to the researchers, the challenge is no longer to generate inexpensive solar energy, but to link energy production from multiple small PV and other green-energy installations with a country’s total energy demand and energy production from other sources, including sources that cross national borders. “This project has gathered very detailed data over time for the last 38 years for the entire globe, so that the model can be used anywhere,” Victoria said.

All the data in the model has been made freely available via an open license.The complete data set including time series for every European country, four different PV configurations, and the period 1979-2017 can be downloaded from here: 10.5281/zenodo.1321809.

The research was published in Progress in Photovoltaics (https://doi.org/10.1002/pip.3126).

Photonics.com
Jul 2019
Research & TechnologyeducationEuropeAarhus Universitylight sourcesmaterialsphotovoltaicssolarenergyenvironment

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