Universidad Politécnica de Madrid Universidad Politécnica de Madrid

Estimation of PV plant production


The estimation of the energy productivity is the starting point for a quality control of a PV plant. Once the location and the main characteristics of the PV plant are defined, a simulation exercise based on a model of the behavior of the PV plant that relates the ambient conditions (mainly solar irradiation and ambient temperature) and its electrical response (power and energy injected into the grid) is carried out.

We use our own simulation software called SISIFO, that has three main blocks:

  • Estimation of the meteorological conditions, that is, horizontal solar irradiation and ambient temperature
  • Estimation of the operating conditions: effective irradiation on the PV generator  surface and its operating temperature.
  • Estimation of the electrical response of the PV plant (PV generator + inverter + AC transformer)


  • Collection and analysis of available solar radiation and ambient temperature information.
  • Energy losses scenario definition
  • Energetic behaviour simulation
  • Estimation and yearly energy production and future degradation
  • Design evaluation

Applied standards and references

  • Databases: PVGIS, NASA, CMSAFT, SoDa, SWERA, meteorological stations, professional data providers.

  • Own software, SISIFO, and own models for considering daily irradiance profiles, spectral and angular PV generators response, and shading impact.

  • Martín, N., and Ruiz Pérez, J.M.: ‘Calculation of the PV modules angular losses under field conditions by means of an analytical model’, Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells, 2001, 70, (1), pp. 25-38 (DOI: 10.1016/S0927-0248(00)00408-6)

  • Perpiñán, O., Lorenzo, E., and Castro, M.A.: ‘On the calculation of energy produced by a PV-grid connected system’, Progress in Photovoltaics. Research and Applications, 2007, 15, (3), pp. 265-274 (DOI: 10.1002/pip.728)

  • Perpiñán, O., Lorenzo, E., Castro, M.A., and Eyras, R.: ‘On the complexity of radiation models for PV energy production calculation’, Solar Energy, 2008, 82, (2), pp. 125-131 (DOI: 10.1016/j.solener.2007.06.007)

  • Narvarte, L., and Lorenzo, E.: ‘Tracking and ground cover ratio’, Progress in Photovoltaics. Research and Applications, 2008, 16, (8), pp. 703-714 (DOI: 10.1002/pip.847)

  • Lorenzo, E., Narvarte, L., and Muñoz, J.: ‘Tracking and back-tracking’, Progress in Photovoltaics: Research and Applications, 2011, 19, (6), pp. 747-753 (DOI: 10.1002/pip.1085)

  • Martínez-Moreno, F., Muñoz, J., and Lorenzo, E.: ‘Experimental model to estimate shading losses on PV arrays’, Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells, 2010, 94, (12), pp. 2298-2303 (DOI: 10.1016/j.solmat.2010.07.029)

Contact person: Prof. Eduardo Lorenzo 


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