Long-term patterns of European PV output using 30 years of validated hourly reanalysis and satellite data

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Title: Long-term patterns of European PV output using 30 years of validated hourly reanalysis and satellite data
Authors: Pfenninger, S
Staffell, IL
Item Type: Journal Article
Abstract: Solar PV is rapidly growing globally, creating difficult questions around how to efficiently integrate it into national electricity grids. Its time-varying power output is difficult to model credibly because it depends on complex and variable weather systems, leading to difficulty in understanding its potential and limitations. We demonstrate how the MERRA and MERRA-2 global meteorological reanalyses as well as the Meteosat-based CM-SAF SARAH satellite dataset can be used to produce hourly PV simulations across Europe. To validate these simulations, we gather metered time series from more than 1000 PV systems as well as national aggregate output reported by transmission network operators. We find slightly better accuracy from satellite data, but greater stability from reanalysis data. We correct for systematic bias by matching our simulations to the mean bias in modeling individual sites, then examine the long-term patterns, variability and correlation with power demand across Europe, using thirty years of simulated outputs. The results quantify how the increasing deployment of PV substantially changes net power demand and affects system adequacy and ramping requirements, with heterogeneous impacts across different European countries. The simulation code and the hourly simulations for all European countries are available freely via an interactive web platform,
Issue Date: 6-Sep-2016
Date of Acceptance: 18-Aug-2016
ISSN: 0360-5442
Publisher: Elsevier
Start Page: 1251
End Page: 1265
Journal / Book Title: Energy
Volume: 114
Copyright Statement: © 2016 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (
Keywords: Energy
Mechanical Engineering
Interdisciplinary Engineering
Publication Status: Published
Appears in Collections:Centre for Environmental Policy
Faculty of Natural Sciences

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