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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal IEEE Transactions on Sustainable Energy
Volume (Issue) 9(1)
Page(s) 35 - 44
Title of proceedings IEEE Transactions on Sustainable Energy
DOI 10.1109/tste.2017.2714690

Open Access


Due to the increasing proportion of distributed photovoltaic (PV) production in the generation mix, the knowledge of the PV generation capacity has become a key factor. In this work, we propose to compute the PV plant maximum power starting from the indirectly-estimated irradiance. Three estimators are compared in terms of i) ability to compute the PV plant maximum power, ii) bandwidth and iii) robustness against measurements noise. The approaches rely on measurements of the DC voltage, current, and cell temperature and on a model of the PV array. We show that the considered methods can accurately reconstruct the PV maximum generation even during curtailment periods, i.e. when the measured PV power is not representative of the maximum potential of the PV array. Performance evaluation is carried out by using a dedicated experimental setup on a 14.3 kWp rooftop PV installation. Results also proved that the analyzed methods can outperform pyranometer-based estimations, with a simple sensing system. We show how the obtained PV maximum power values can be applied to train time series-based solar maximum power forecasting techniques. This is beneficial when the measured power values, commonly used as training, are not representative of the maximum PV potential.