Impact of aerosols on the spatiotemporal variability of photovoltaic energy production in the Euro-Mediterranean area

Gutiérrez, Claudia ; Somot, Samuel ; Nabat, Pierre ; Mallet, Marc ; Gaertner, Miguel Ángel ; Perpiñán, Oscar

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The increase in the photovoltaic energy installed capacity over the world leads to the need of a better understanding of solar resource and its variability. The aim of this work is to assess the influence of aerosols on photovoltaic energy production from seasonal to multi-decadal time scales. For this purpose we use various coupled aerosol-climate simulations that take into account the complex spatial and temporal patterns of natural and anthropogenic aerosols over the Euro-Mediterranean domain. The results show that aerosols strongly influence the spatial pattern, seasonal cycle and long-term trend of PV production. The most affected area is Central Europe where sensitivity of PV production to aerosols is higher. The annual production loss due to aerosols ranges from no impact to -16% in The Netherlands, with variation depending on the area and on the typology of the tracking system. The summer production loss can even reach -20% over regions of Africa and Syria-Iraq. We conclude that aerosols cannot be neglected in the assessment of PV production at large time scales over the Euro-Mediterranean area. Besides, the potential increase in energy due to reduction in the anthropogenic aerosols is shown in the simulation of the brightening period over Europe, with an increase of 2000?kWhkWp in a PV lifetime for the most affected areas. It illustrates the evolution that PV potential could follow in highly polluted areas through the effective implementation of pollution control measures.
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