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A Standardized Approach to PV System Performance Model Validation « Balance of Systems/Soft Costs « Photovoltaic « Solar Energy « Renewable Energy « Energy Security « Downloads

Date postedApril 9, 2012
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CategoriesBalance of Systems/Soft Costs, Photovoltaic, Solar Energy, Renewable Energy, Technical Paper, Energy Security


PV performance models are used to predict how much energy a PV system will produce at a given location and subject to prescribed weather conditions. These models are commonly use by project developers to choose between module technologies and array designs (e.g., fixed tilt vs. tracking) for a given site or to choose between different geographic locations, and are used by the financial community to establish project viability. Available models can different significantly in their underlying mathematical formulations and assumptions and in the options available to the analysis for setting up a simulation. Some models lack complete documentation and transparency, which can result in confusion on how to properly set up, run, and document a simulation. Furthermore, the quality and associated uncertainty of the available data upon which these models rely (E.g., irradiance, module parameters, etc.) is often quite variable and frequency undefined. For these reasons, many project developers hand other industry users of these simulation tools have expressed concerns related to the confidence they place in PV performance model results. To address this problem, we propose a standardized method of the validation of PV system-level performance models and a set of guidelines for setting up these models and reporting results. This paper describes the basic elements for a standardized model validation process adapted especially for PV performance models, suggests a framework to implement the process, and presents an example of its application to a number of available PV performance models.

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