- Solargis’ 10-year solar irradiance analysis sees difference in solar irradiance levels in various key solar markets which can impact a plant’s profitability
- In India, the analysts claim up to 7% below average solar irradiation over the last 4 years with aerosols and cloud cover bringing it down
- As North America sees the ITC phasing out, developers need to factor in below-par irradiation, on an average basis, in the North and Southeast as recorded by the analysts during the reporting period
- Australia too has been experiencing significant irradiance variability across the continent over the last 5 years due to extreme weather conditions
Solar weather, data and software company Solargis in its 10-year analysis of solar resource variability across key markets of India, North America and Australia sees significant deviations from long term averages. This, the Slovakian company argues, could impact project’s financial prospects if not factored in.
“We are seeing margins tighten on global solar projects, due to multiple factors like the phase out of tax credits and subsidies, price volatility and rising supply chain costs,” said Solargis CEO Marcel Suri. “High-quality solar data will help to better understand and address deviations from expected production, forecast short-term performance and ultimately support effective integration into modern digitalized grids.”
The Indian subcontinent, for instance, has been recording up to 7% below average solar irradiation over the last 4 years, especially around highly developed areas where aerosols and cloud cover can impact resource availability. It reflects the concerns of local asset managers about the decline in irradiance levels.
“If this data isn’t considered by developers, it could result in solar farms underperforming, with wider implications for investor confidence in one of the world’s fastest growing solar markets,” cautions Solargis.
Similarly for North America, Solargis found below-par irradiation in the North and Southeast when comparing the average over last 10 years with long term trends. The above average recordings in the Northwest in 2021, reflect anomalies as the recent ‘heat dome’ with temperatures going up to record highs of 49.6°celsius.
Developers and asset owners can take into account variable weather conditions to forecast the plant’s performance better especially as the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) phases out.
Another significant solar market, Australia has seen some significant irradiance variability across the continent over the last 5 years in terms of long term averages which the analysts attribute to extreme weather conditions that led to events as the bushfire of 2019-2020, dubbed Black Summer.
Solargis believes ‘the future of solar integration on the continent depends on expert, reliable understanding of how investors and asset managers can prepare for and manage extreme weather events while integrating these future technologies into the grid as the nation transitions from fossil fuels’.