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Simulating Solar Power Plant Variability: A Review of Current Methods « Solar Energy « Renewable Energy « Energy Security « Downloads

Date postedJune 17, 2013
Downloaded653 times
CategoriesSolar Energy, Renewable Energy, Technical Paper, Energy Security, Photovoltaic


It is important to be able to accurately simulate the variability of solar PV power plants for grid integration studies. We aim to inform integration studies of the ease of implementation and application-specific accuracy of current PV power plant output simulation methods. This report reviews methods for producing simulated high-resolution (sub-hour or even sub-minute) PV power plant output profiles for variability studies and describes their implementation. Two steps are involved in the simulations: estimation of average irradiance over the footprint of a PV plant and conversion of average irradiance to plant power output. Six models are described for simulating plant-average irradiance based on inputs of ground-measured irradiance, satellite-derived irradiance, or proxy plant measurements. The steps for converting plant-average irradiance to plant power output are detailed to understand the contributions to plant variability. A forthcoming report will quantify the accuracy of each method using application-specific validation metrics.

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