Since before 1990, Sandia’s Photovoltaic (PV) System Evaluation Lab (PSEL) has been comprehensively recording solar irradiance data to accompany its outdoor PV testing. The unusual dip in 2015 solar energy at the facility prompted us to notice that other historic dips in the sun’s insolation, or the amount of sunlight shining on the earth, have coincided with the larger El Niño years. Prior to 2015-16, intense El Niño conditions occurred in 1991-92, 1997-98, 2004-05, 2009-10. Many smaller events are harder to detect and, to be fair, climatic changes in 1992 were mainly attributed to the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo. The current weather data at PSEL along with a link to a summary of the historic data can be found on Sandia Labs’ PV website.
Largest Reduction of Solar Energy in 24 Years Recorded at PSEL Linked to El Niño
About the Author: Andrea (Andi) Penner
Program Communications Specialist, Renewable Energy Programs, Sandia National Laboratories, firstname.lastname@example.org
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