Hourly irradiance values are essential data to reasonably estimate the electric power production (EPP) from a photovoltaic (PV) system. Worldwide monthly irradiance data are available from meteorological observation satellites; however, adequate hourly data are not widely available in developing countries or rural areas where PV systems are needed most. Aiming to supply such data, this study compared three different methods (i.e., sunshine hours mean, the SOLPOS algorithm, and the Duffie and Beckman algorithm) to convert the monthly accumulated irradiance data into hourly irradiance data. The monthly accumulated irradiance data at 11 sites in the United States and Korea, acquired from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, were converted into hourly irradiance data by employing the three methods. The converted hourly data were entered into the System Advisor Model to estimate the monthly total EPP values (henceforth, EPPs) from the PV systems. Each estimated EPP value was compared with those analyzed from the measured hourly data (regarded as the reference values in this study). After considering the errors between the EPPs estimated from the converted hourly irradiance data and measured using the hourly irradiance data, the simulation results with identical PV capacities indicated that the SOLPOS algorithm was the most appropriate conversion method.
Suh, J., & Choi, Y. (2017). Methods for converting monthly total irradiance data into hourly data to estimate electric power production from photovoltaic systems: A comparative study. Sustainability (Switzerland), 9(7). https://doi.org/10.3390/su9071234