European Commission releases dataset of solar generation time series

Assessing the impact of climate variability on the generation of solar power, the Knowledge Management Unit at the directorate for Energy, Transport and Climate, DG-Joint Research Centre (JRC) has developed the EMHIRES dataset (European Meteorological High resolution RES time series) looking into the solar power time series at both national and regional levels covering the whole of Europe.

Namely, the solar power time series are produced at hourly granularity and at different aggregation levels: by country, power market bidding zone, and by the European Nomenclature of territorial units for statistics (NUTS) defined by EUROSTAT; in particular, by NUTS 1 and NUTS 2 level. The time series provided by bidding zones include special aggregations to reflect the power market reality where this deviates from political or territorial boundaries.

The dataset was created using the in-house PVGIS model developed to provide values of solar irradiance and the potential power production from PV modules for different choices of technologies, panel orientations and other parameters. In this report, the model was used to perform simulations for PV arrays mounted on an open-rack mounting at 30°inclination south-facing, and calculate the electricity generation in hourly intervals over 30 years for Europe.

Furthermore, the hourly solar power generation time series are released for meteorological conditions of the years 1986-2015 (30 years), specifically the irradiance extracted from the Climate Monitoring Satellite Application Facility, without considering any changes in the solar installed capacity. Thus, the installed capacity considered is fixed as the one installed at the end of 2015.

The assumptions on the distribution of solar farms include the orientation and the inclination and the technology of the PV modules, the distribution of the PV fleet, whether it is homogeneously or heterogeneously distributed over the area, and the locations of the installed PV fleet.

As an adequate modeling of any decarbonization scenarios would crucially depend on the accurate representation of the spatial and temporal characterization of the wind and solar sources, thereby minimizing the risk to possibly overstate or downplay the role of solar or wind in the future energy mix, the new dataset on solar power generation comes following the EMHIRES dataset Part I, which reflected the local geographical information in the variability of wind energy.

The new JRC dataset is open-access to be used for analysis of current and future power systems studies. Although it does not account for effects of curtailment, outages such as maintenances and grid losses or network incidences, EMHIIRES is developed to increase the accuracy of generation adequacy assessments, renewable energy integration studies and market studies for flexibility technologies such as storage.