Discrepancies in solar irradiation data for Stockholm and Athens

University essay from Högskolan Dalarna/Maskinteknik


The aim of this study is to evaluate the variation of solar radiation data between different data sources that will be free and available at the Solar Energy Research Center (SERC). The comparison between data sources will be carried out for two locations: Stockholm, Sweden and Athens, Greece. For the desired locations, data is gathered for different tilt angles: 0°, 30°, 45°, 60° facing south. The full dataset is available in two excel files: “Stockholm annual irradiation” and “Athens annual irradiation”. The World Radiation Data Center (WRDC) is defined as a reference for the comparison with other dtaasets, because it has the highest time span recorded for Stockholm (1964–2010) and Athens (1964–1986), in form of average monthly irradiation, expressed in kWh/m2. The indicator defined for the data comparison is the estimated standard deviation. The mean biased error (MBE) and the root mean square error (RMSE) were also used as statistical indicators for the horizontal solar irradiation data. The variation in solar irradiation data is categorized in two categories: natural or inter-annual variability, due to different data sources and lastly due to different calculation models. The inter-annual variation for Stockholm is 140.4kWh/m2 or 14.4% and 124.3kWh/m2 or 8.0% for Athens. The estimated deviation for horizontal solar irradiation is 3.7% for Stockholm and 4.4% Athens. This estimated deviation is respectively equal to 4.5% and 3.6% for Stockholm and Athens at 30° tilt, 5.2% and 4.5% at 45° tilt, 5.9% and 7.0% at 60°. NASA’s SSE, SAM and RETScreen (respectively Satel-light) exhibited the highest deviation from WRDC’s data for Stockholm (respectively Athens). The essential source for variation is notably the difference in horizontal solar irradiation. The variation increases by 1-2% per degree of tilt, using different calculation models, as used in PVSYST and Meteonorm. The location and altitude of the data source did not directly influence the variation with the WRDC data. Further examination is suggested in order to improve the methodology of selecting the location; Examining the functional dependence of ground reflected radiation with ambient temperature; variation of ambient temperature and its impact on different solar energy systems; Im pact of variation in solar irradiation and ambient temperature on system output.

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