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Impact of atmospheric aerosols on solar power

  • Atmospheric aerosols affect the power production of solar energy systems. Their impact depends on both the atmospheric conditions and the solar technology employed. By being a region with a lack in power production and prone to high solar insolation, West Africa shows high potential for the application of solar power systems. However, dust outbreaks, containing high aerosol loads, occur especially in the Sahel, located between the Saharan desert in the north and the Sudanian Savanna in the south. They might affect the whole region for several days with significant effects on power generation. This study investigates the impact of atmospheric aerosols on solar energy production for the example year 2006 making use of six well instrumented sites in West Africa. Two different solar power technologies, a photovoltaic (PV) and a parabolic through (PT) power plant, are considered. The daily reduction of solar power due to aerosols is determined over mostly clear-sky days in 2006 with a model chain combining radiative transfer and technology specific power generation. For mostly clear days the local daily reduction of PV power (at alternating current) (PVAC) and PT power (PTP) due to the presence of aerosols lies between 13 % and 22 % and between 22 % and 37 %, respectively. In March 2006 a major dust outbreak occurred, which serves as an example to investigate the impact of an aerosol extreme event on solar power. During the dust outbreak, daily reduction of PVAC and PTP of up to 79 % and 100 % occur with a mean reduction of 20 % to 40 % for PVAC and of 32 % to 71 % for PTP during the 12 days of the event.

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Document Type:Article
Author:Ina Neher, Tina Buchmann, Susanne Crewell, Bernhard Pospichal, Stefanie Meilinger
Parent Title (English):Meteorologische Zeitschrift
First Page:305
Last Page:321
Place of publication:Stuttgart
Publishing Institution:Hochschule Bonn-Rhein-Sieg
Date of first publication:2019/09/20
Copyright:© 2019 The authors. CC BY-NC 4.0
Keyword:West Africa; atmospheric aerosol; energy meteorology; solar power
Departments, institutes and facilities:Fachbereich Ingenieurwissenschaften und Kommunikation
Institut für Technik, Ressourcenschonung und Energieeffizienz (TREE)
Internationales Zentrum für Nachhaltige Entwicklung (IZNE)
Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC):3 Sozialwissenschaften / 33 Wirtschaft / 333 Boden- und Energiewirtschaft
5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 55 Geowissenschaften, Geologie / 551 Geologie, Hydrologie, Meteorologie
Open access funding:Hochschule Bonn-Rhein-Sieg / Graduierteninstitut
Entry in this database:2019/09/24
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - CC BY-NC - Namensnennung - Nicht kommerziell 4.0 International