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Irradiance and cloud optical properties from solar photovoltaic systems

  • Solar photovoltaic power output is modulated by atmospheric aerosols and clouds and thus contains valuable information on the optical properties of the atmosphere. As a ground-based data source with high spatiotemporal resolution it has great potential to complement other ground-based solar irradiance measurements as well as those of weather models and satellites, thus leading to an improved characterisation of global horizontal irradiance. In this work several algorithms are presented that can retrieve global tilted and horizontal irradiance and atmospheric optical properties from solar photovoltaic data and/or pyranometer measurements. The method is tested on data from two measurement campaigns that took place in the Allgäu region in Germany in autumn 2018 and summer 2019, and the results are compared with local pyranometer measurements as well as satellite and weather model data. Using power data measured at 1 Hz and averaged to 1 min resolution along with a non-linear photovoltaic module temperature model, global horizontal irradiance is extracted with a mean bias error compared to concurrent pyranometer measurements of 5.79 W m−2 (7.35 W m−2) under clear (cloudy) skies, averaged over the two campaigns, whereas for the retrieval using coarser 15 min power data with a linear temperature model the mean bias error is 5.88 and 41.87 W m−2 under clear and cloudy skies, respectively. During completely overcast periods the cloud optical depth is extracted from photovoltaic power using a lookup table method based on a 1D radiative transfer simulation, and the results are compared to both satellite retrievals and data from the Consortium for Small-scale Modelling (COSMO) weather model. Potential applications of this approach for extracting cloud optical properties are discussed, as well as certain limitations, such as the representation of 3D radiative effects that occur under broken-cloud conditions. In principle this method could provide an unprecedented amount of ground-based data on both irradiance and optical properties of the atmosphere, as long as the required photovoltaic power data are available and properly pre-screened to remove unwanted artefacts in the signal. Possible solutions to this problem are discussed in the context of future work.

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Document Type:Article
Author:James Barry, Stefanie Meilinger, Klaus Pfeilsticker, Anna Herman-Czezuch, Nicola Kimiaie, Christopher Schirrmeister, Rone Yousif, Tina Buchmann, Johannes Grabenstein, Hartwig Deneke, Jonas Witthuhn, Claudia Emde, Felix Gödde, Bernhard Mayer, Leonhard Scheck, Marion Schroedter-Homscheidt, Philipp Hofbauer, Matthias Struck
Parent Title (English):Atmospheric Measurement Techniques
Number of pages:33
First Page:4975
Last Page:5007
Publisher:Copernicus GmbH
Place of publication:Göttingen
Publishing Institution:Hochschule Bonn-Rhein-Sieg
Date of first publication:2023/10/27
Copyright:© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Funding:This research has been supported by the Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Energie (grant nos. 0350009A and 0350009C).
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
3 Sozialwissenschaften / 33 Wirtschaft / 333.7 Natürliche Ressourcen, Energie und Umwelt
Open access funding:Hochschule Bonn-Rhein-Sieg / Publikationsfonds / 2022 ff
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft / DFG Förderung Open Access Publikationskosten 2023 - 2025
Entry in this database:2023/11/03
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - CC BY - Namensnennung 4.0 International