Interpolating and estimating horizontal diffuse solar irradiation to provide UK-wide coverage: selection of the best performing models

Plane-of-array irradiation data is a requirement to simulate the energetic performance of photovoltaic devices (PV). Normally, solar data is only available as global horizontal irradiation, for a limited number of locations, and typically in hourly time resolution. One approach to handling this restricted data is to enhance it initially by interpolation to the location of interest; next, it must be translated to plane-of-array (PoA) data by separately considering the diffuse and the beam components. There are many methods of interpolation. This research selects ordinary kriging as the best performing technique by studying mathematical properties, experimentation and leave-one-out-cross validation. Likewise, a number of different translation models has been developed, most of them parameterised for specific measurement setups and locations. The work presented identifies the optimum approach for the UK on a national scale. The global horizontal irradiation will be split into its constituent parts. Divers separation models were tried. The results of each separation algorithm were checked against measured data distributed across the UK. It became apparent that while there is little difference between procedures (14 Wh/m2 MBE, 12 Wh/m2 RMSE), the Ridley, Boland, Lauret equation (a universal split algorithm) consistently performed well. The combined interpolation/separation RMSE is 86 Wh/m2).