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Photovoltaic power potential in West Africa using long-term satellite data

  • This paper addresses long-term historical changes in solar irradiance in West Africa (3 to 20° N and 20° W to 16° E) and the implications for photovoltaic systems. Here, we use satellite irradiance (Surface Solar Radiation Data Set – Heliosat, Edition 2.1 – SARAH-2.1) and temperature data from a reanalysis (ERA5) to derive photovoltaic yields. Based on 35 years of data (1983–2017), the temporal and regional variability as well as long-term trends in global and direct horizontal irradiance are analyzed. Furthermore, a detailed time series analysis is undertaken at four locations. According to the high spatial resolution SARAH-2.1 data record (0.05°×0.05°), solar irradiance is largest (up to a 300 W m−2 daily average) in the Sahara and the Sahel zone with a positive trend (up to 5 W m−2 per decade) and a lower temporal variability (<75 W m−2 between 1983 and 2017 for daily averages). In contrast, the solar irradiance is lower in southern West Africa (between 200 W m−2 and 250 W m−2) with a negative trend (up to −5 W m−2 per decade) and a higher temporal variability (up to 150 W m−2). The positive trend in the north is mostly connected to the dry season, whereas the negative trend in the south occurs during the wet season. Both trends show 95 % significance. Photovoltaic (PV) yields show a strong meridional gradient with the lowest values of around 4 kWh  kWp−1 in southern West Africa and values of more than 5.5 kWh  kWp−1 in the Sahara and Sahel zone.

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Document Type:Article
Author:Ina Neher, Susanne Crewell, Stefanie Meilinger, Uwe Pfeifroth, Jörg Trentmann
Parent Title (English):Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics
Number of pages:18
First Page:12871
Last Page:12888
Publisher:Copernicus Publications
Place of publication:Göttingen
Publishing Institution:Hochschule Bonn-Rhein-Sieg
Date of first publication:2020/11/05
Copyright:© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Funding:This research has been supported by the Heinrich Boll Foundation though a PhD fellowship to the first author.
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):5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 55 Geowissenschaften, Geologie / 551 Geologie, Hydrologie, Meteorologie
Open access funding:Hochschule Bonn-Rhein-Sieg / Graduierteninstitut
Entry in this database:2020/11/07
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - CC BY - Namensnennung 4.0 International