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Cross-Validation of PV System Simulation Software
A. Driesse, N. Patel
PV Systems and Storage – Modelling, Design, Operation and Performance
Subtopic: Operation, Performance and Maintenance of PV Systems
Event: 36th European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition
Session: 5CO.13.6
ISBN: 3-936338-60-4
0,00 EUR
Document(s): presentation


Simulation software plays a critical role for planning, optimizing and evaluating PV systems—and for gaining investor confidence. Does it matter which software is used? Most, if not all, core calculations are based on the same published models (some of them very old), and most software documentation is open about the models and methods that are implemented. So in theory, if we simulate the same system with the same model choices and the same assumptions, each software program should produce the same results. Our aim is to check this theory, identify precisely at which model steps differences occur, and determine how each of these differences contributes to overall differences in predicted yield. Our general approach to this task is to define a range of test systems representing different technologies, products, locations and design variations; simulate them using each software; and compare the simulation output at each stage of the model chain—not just the final output. Fortunately each software option is able to generate an output file with such details, thus making this type of analysis possible. An initial challenge was to establish the equivalence between the terminology used in the different programs for system definitions, model parameters, simulation options and output variables. Having done this, we can now operate and evaluate all the software with a common nomenclature for input and output.