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A New GIS-based Solar Radiation Model and Its Application to Photovoltaic Assessments

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Abstract

The solar radiation model r.sun is a flexible and efficient tool for the estimation of solar radiation for clear-sky and overcast atmospheric conditions. In contrast to other models, r.sun considers all relevant input parameters as spatially distributed entities to enable computations for large areas with complex terrain. Conceptually the model is based on equations published in the European Solar Radiation Atlas (ESRA). The r.sun model was applied to estimate the solar potential for photovoltaic systems in Central and Eastern Europe. The overcast radiation was computed from clear-sky values and a clear-sky index. The raster map of the clear-sky index was computed using a multivariate interpolation method to account for terrain effects, with interpolation parameters optimized using a cross-validation technique. The incorporation of terrain data improved the radiation estimates in terms of the model's predictive error and the spatial pattern of the model outputs. Comparing the results of r.sun with the ESRA database demonstrates that integration of the solar radiation model and the spatial interpolation tools in a GIS can be especially helpful for data at higher resolutions and in regions with a lack of ground measurements.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: European Commission Joint Research CentreInstitute for Environment and Sustainability Renewable Energies Unit Ispra (VA), Italy 2: Department of Geography and Geoecology Faculty of Humanities and Natural Science University of Prešov

Publication date: 2004-04-01

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