A Reproducible Validation of Algorithms for Estimating Array Tilt and Azimuth from Photovoltaic Power Time Series

Kirsten Perry, Bennet Meyers, Kevin Anderson, Matthew Muller

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


In this research, we assess the viability of four different, publicly available algorithms for estimating the azimuth and tilt parameters of solar photovoltaic systems using only the associated AC power time series data and site latitude-longitude coordinates. In this work, we curated a benchmarking data set of 44 fixed-tilt systems, comprising 275 measured AC power inverter data streams, with known azimuth and tilt parameters. Additionally, we isolated test cases in the data set with real- world issues, including shading and clipping, to determine how algorithm performance varies based on the presence of these phenomena. Using this data set for benchmarking, we evaluated the estimated vs. actual system characteristics for each algorithm, as well as the associated algorithm execution time using a standardized benchmarking process. The two highest performing algorithms were the Solar Data Tools and the PVWatts 5- based methods, which both achieved a median absolute error of approximately 5 and 1 degrees for azimuth and tilt, respectively. During run time analysis, the SDT method was approximately 5 times faster than the PVWatts 5-based method, with the median execution time for a stream varying between 6 and 8 seconds vs. a median run time of 31 seconds for the PVWatts 5-based method.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages6
StatePublished - 2023
Event2023 IEEE 50th Photovoltaic Specialists Conference (PVSC) - San Juan, Puerto Rico
Duration: 11 Jun 202316 Jun 2023


Conference2023 IEEE 50th Photovoltaic Specialists Conference (PVSC)
CitySan Juan, Puerto Rico

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-5K00-88895


  • azimuth
  • photovoltaic
  • system parameters
  • tilt
  • time series


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