If you're the owner of a solar installation in Spain then there aren't many better places to be right now...and here's some news on why you shouldn't be overly concerned about the odd cloud in the sky.
A new study from the Netherlands has shown that the highest power peaks caused by strong solar generation don't actually occur on cloud-free sunny days, as is commonly assumed, but under mixed-cloud conditions.
Power company Liander, who conducted the study along with several Dutch academic institutions, say that “Clouds appear white because they reflect a lot of light...and that light reflection can create good conditions for solar generation. When the clouds create shadows over the panels for short periods of time, they can help to reduce their temperature, while also increasing their power yield.”
For this reason, while most energy is generated on clear days, the highest peaks are on those days when the sun is covered by fluffy cumulus clouds.
The research team found that the largest peak power was recorded for a residential PV system, coming in 22% higher than the classic 15-minute interval reading, which is typically used to analyze the power production of solar.
As an aside, even in the Netherlands (which is not necessarily renowned for its long days of sunshine...) the company expects strong PV growth over the next five years, and is taking measures to ensure that it will be sustainable.
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