The performance of photovoltaic systems must be monitored accurately to ensure profitable long-term operation. The most important signals to be measured—irradiance and temperature, as well as power, current and voltage on both DC and AC sides of the system—contain rapid fluctuations that are not observable by typical monitoring systems. Nevertheless these fluctuations can affect the accuracy of the data that are stored.
This report closely examines the main signals in one operating PV system, which were recorded at 2000 samples per second. It analyzes the characteristics and causes of the rapid fluctuations that are found, such as line-frequency harmonics, perturbations from anti-islanding detection, MPPT searching action and others. The operation of PV monitoring systems is then simulated using a wide range of sampling intervals, archive intervals and filtering options to assess how these factors influence data accuracy. Finally several potential sources of error are discussed with real-world examples.