By Adam Kankiewicz December 24, 2013
The PV Power Map is an overview of national solar resource availability as illustrated by the monthly energy output of a nominal 1-kilowatt (kW) photovoltaic (PV) system by location. In June, several regions exhibited variances in PV energy production.
Across the western United States, average to above-average PV energy production prevailed as drought conditions continued in the region, and coastal California locations were spared the typical “June gloom” when marine stratus conditions eased up.
PV energy production across the eastern United States was generally below average due to wetter-than-normal conditions. Tropical Storm Andrea provided significant precipitation and cloud cover that significantly depressed PV energy production from Florida up the Eastern Seaboard from June 6-8.
How to Use the PV Power Map
The PV Power Map can be used by anyone to quickly gauge the generation potential of a new PV system, or benchmark the performance of an installed system, in a given location. Simply multiply the power output indicated on the map by a project’s capacity, in kilowatts, to calculate the total estimated power output for the month.
For example, a 4-kW PV system in St. Paul, Minn., would have produced approximately 524 kilowatt-hours during July (131 kWh x 4 kW = 524 kWh). Meanwhile, a 4-kW system in Orlando, Fla., would have produced approximately 432 kWh during June (108 kWh x 4 kW = 432 kWh). Farther west, a 4-kW PV system in Fort Collins, Colo., would have produced approximately 668 kWh during June (167 kWh x 4 kW = 668 kWh).
To gain an understanding of the production of a particular system over a period of time, you can view the category PV Power Maps.
The PV Power Map is created with power output estimates generated by SolarAnywhere
services from Clean Power Research; these include simulation capabilities and hourly satellite-derived irradiance data with spatial resolutions from 1 to 10 kilometers. The calculations are based on a PV system with a total 1-kW nameplate rating that is configured as five 200-watt PV panels with a 1.5-kW inverter; fixed, south-facing panels with 30 degree tilt; no shading; panel PVUSA Test Conditions rating of 178 watts; and inverter efficiency of 95.5 percent.
Visualization and mapping provided by GeoModel Solar. Access free historical irradiance data at solaranywhere.com.
Adam Kankiewicz (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a research specialist at Clean Power Research.