PV Generation Potential for 2014


PV Power Maps illustrate national solar resource availability by showing the energy output of a nominal 1-kilowatt (kW) photovoltaic (PV) system by location. This issue features a map of the average monthly PV power output in 2014. Also featured is a PV Power Variance Map, which highlights how the average energy production in 2014 compared with the typically expected long-term annual energy production.

2014 Monthly Variance Map

2014 Average Monthly PV Power Variance

As can be seen in the PV Power Variance Map, several regions experienced noteworthy above and below swings in PV energy production in 2014. Above-average PV production was realized across portions of the western, southwestern, and south central United States, as well as the Mississippi Valley, due to dry conditions over the regions. Below-average PV energy conditions dominated the Gulf Coast and Florida regions, as well as the Great Lakes and northeastern United States due to wetter and cloudier-than-average conditions.

2014 Average Monthly PV Power Map

2014 Average Monthly PV Power Map

The PV Power Map can be used by anyone to quickly gauge the generation potential of a new PV system or bench.mark 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 an average 2014 month.

For example, a 4-kW PV system in San Diego, California, would have produced approximately 580 kilowatt-hours (kWh) during an average 2014 month (145 kWh x 4 kW = 580 kWh), which was about 2.5% above the typical monthly production. Meanwhile, a 4-kW system in Houston, Texas, would have produced approximately 440 kWh (110 kWh x 4 kW = 440 kWh), which was about 3% below the typical monthly production.

To gain an understanding of the production of a particular system over a period of time, you can view historical PV Power Maps from 2012, 2013, and 2014 at solartoday.org/pvpowermap.

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 pan.els 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%. Access free historical irradiance data at solaranywhere.com.

Adam Kankiewicz (askcpr@cleanpower.com) is a research specialist at Clean Power Research.

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