An approach for the estimation of the aggregated photovoltaic power generated in several European countries from meteorological data

Yves-Marie Saint-Drenan, Lucien Wald, Thierry Ranchin, Laurent Dubus, Alberto Troccoli

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Classical approaches to the calculation of the photovoltaic (PV) power generated in a region from meteorological data require the knowledge of the detailed characteristics of the plants, which are most often not publicly available. An approach is proposed with the objective to obtain the best possible assessment of power generated in any region without having to collect detailed information on PV plants. The proposed approach is based on a model of PV plant coupled with a statistical distribution of the prominent characteristics of the configuration of the plant and is tested over Europe. The generated PV power is first calculated for each of the plant configurations frequently found in a given region and then aggregated taking into account the probability of occurrence of each configuration. A statistical distribution has been constructed from detailed information obtained for several thousands of PV plants representing approximately 2 % of the total number of PV plants in Germany and was then adapted to other European countries by taking into account changes in the optimal PV tilt angle as a function of the latitude and meteorological conditions. The model has been run with bias-adjusted ERA-interim data as meteorological inputs. The results have been compared to estimates of the total PV power generated in two countries: France and Germany, as provided by the corresponding transmission system operators. Relative RMSE of 4.2 and 3.8 % and relative biases of −2.4 and 0.1 % were found with three-hourly data for France and Germany. A validation against estimates of the country-wide PV-power generation provided by the ENTSO-E for 16 European countries has also been conducted. This evaluation is made difficult by the uncertainty on the installed capacity corresponding to the ENTSO-E data but it nevertheless allows demonstrating that the model output and TSO data are highly correlated in most countries. Given the simplicity of the proposed approach these results are very encouraging. The approach is particularly suited to climatic timescales, both historical and future climates, as demonstrated here.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-62
Number of pages12
JournalAdvances in Science and Research
Publication statusPublished - 2 May 2018

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