SOLAR TODAY January 10, 2013
The PV Power Map is a report of national solar resource availability as illustrated by the monthly energy output of a nominal 1-kilowatt (kW) photovoltaic (PV) system by location. The October monthly map highlights the prevalence of above-average PV energy production across the Southwest as drought conditions in that region continued. During the same month, PV energy production dipped across the central United States, coinciding with cooler and cloudier conditions. In the Northeast, above-average energy production for most of October was offset by the arrival of Hurricane Sandy near the end of the month.
Hurricane Sandy’s direct impact on PV energy production is evident in the two East Coast maps comparing the same nine-day period in 2011 and 2012 that coincided with the 2012 hurricane. While direct storm damage was mostly limited to the coastal regions of New Jersey and New York, the corresponding cloud deck associated with Sandy dampened solar energy production throughout the Northeast region for several days. Despite the severity of the storm, many system owners reported no direct damage to their equipment due to Hurricane Sandy, making those systems available to produce needed energy during the post-storm recovery period.
To use the PV Power Map to calculate the generation potential of a PV system in a given location, multiply the power output indicated on the map by a project’s capacity, in kilowatts. The result is the total estimated power output for the month.
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.