Danish researchers have created an accurate solar energy model that can be used around the globe.
A major research project that has been conducted at the Aarhus University’s Department of Engineering, has led to the development of solar power models that can predict how much energy photovoltaic (PV) systems produce.
The researchers analyzed the performance of PV systems at local, regional and global levels.
Solar energy is among the most talked about forms of renewable energy in the world as well as one of the fastest growing. In the last three years alone, more PV installations have been installed globally than any other energy source. Moreover, the yearly growth rate of solar power has been as high as 24% between the years 2010 and 2017.
However, in order for any sustainable energy system to have a feasible future, it is imperative to know how it performs at local, regional and global levels. The researchers from Aarhus University have developed these models and set up an historically accurate model.
“We’ve collected 38 years of global solar radiation, weather and temperature data with a spatial resolution of 40 km x 40 km for the entire globe, and compared this with historical data for photovoltaic installations in Europe,” explained Assistant Professor Marta Victoria, who has been responsible for the project, ScienceDaily reported.
Victoria added that based on their research, they were able to make a very accurate model that, at local, regional and global levels, can tell you about the performance of PV installations in a given geography, based on the type of facility that is being used.
“This means we can look at not only a single installation, but energy production in entire countries or continents from PV installations. This is extremely important for the way in which the energy systems of the future can be combined to function optimally,” Victoria said.
An accurate and detailed solar power model is also needed because renewables, like solar, are weather dependent.
Having this model can be very beneficial. For instance, one of the challenges faced by solar energy is that the energy production needs to be linked from a multitude of small installations across the landscape with a nation’s total electricity demand and production from other sources. Plus, the link can extend across country borders, Victoria noted.
Additionally, weather plays a role in solar energy production, which is another reason that green power generating systems of the future require accurate and detailed knowledge regarding energy production.
The project is part of the RE-Invest project and is funded by Innovation Fund Denmark. The researchers’ published their findings in the journal Progress in Photovoltaics. All their solar power model data is readily available to everyone via Open Licence.