Comparing Capacity Value Estimation Techniques for Photovoltaic Solar Power

Seyed Hossein Madaeni, Ramteen Sioshansi, Paul Denholm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus Citations


In this paper, we estimate the capacity value of photovoltaic (PV) solar plants in the western U.S. Our results show that PV plants have capacity values that range between 52% and 93%, depending on location and sun-tracking capability. We further compare more robust but data-and computationally-intense reliability-based estimation techniques with simpler approximation methods. We show that if implemented properly, these techniques provide accurate approximations of reliability-based methods. Overall, methods that are based on the weighted capacity factor of the plant provide the most accurate estimate. We also examine the sensitivity of PV capacity value to the inclusion of sun-tracking systems.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number6316048
Pages (from-to)407-415
Number of pages9
JournalIEEE Journal of Photovoltaics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2013

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JS-6A20-54703


  • Approximation techniques
  • capacity value
  • photovoltaic (PV) solar
  • reliability theory


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