Simulation of long-term time series of solar photovoltaic power: is the ERA5-land reanalysis the next big step?

Luis Ramirez Camargo, Johannes Schmidt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Downloads (Pure)


Modelling long time series of photovoltaic electricity generation in high temporal resolution using reanalysis data has become a commonly used alternative to assess the viability of systems with high shares of renewables, their risks of failure and probability of extreme events. While there is a considerable amount of literature evaluating the accuracy of the original solar radiation and temperature variables in these data sets, the validation of the calculated output of photovoltaic installations is scarce and usually limited to locations in Europe. This work combines the new ERA5-land reanalysis data set and PV_LIB to generate hourly time series of photovoltaic electricity generation for several years and validates the results using individual data of 57 large photovoltaic plants located in Chile. Results are also compared with PV output for these locations calculated using, a platform relying on MERRA-2, a global reanalysis with five times lower spatial resolution. Accuracy and bias indicators are satisfactory for plants that do not present severe anomalies in their generation profiles and where basic plant characteristics such as size and orientation match our model assumptions. However, the improvements in indicators over results obtained with from MERRA-2 are minor. The validation process serves not only to confirm the suitability of the proposed workflow to model the output of individual photovoltaic plants, but also to list and discuss data quality and availability issues. Efforts towards availability and standardization of data of individual installations are necessary to improve the basis for further developments.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 4 Mar 2020

Bibliographical note

16 pages, 6 figures, 3 Tables, Annex A and B with 1 additional table and 2 figures


  • physics.soc-ph

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Simulation of long-term time series of solar photovoltaic power: is the ERA5-land reanalysis the next big step?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this