PV Ramping in a Distributed Generation Environment: A Study Using Solar Measurements

Manajit Sengupta, Jamie Keller

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

15 Scopus Citations


Variability in Photovoltaic (PV) generation resulting from variability in the solar radiation over the PV arrays is a topic of continuing concern for those involved with integrating renewables onto existing electrical grids. The island of Lanai, Hawaii is an extreme example of the challenges that integrators will face due to the fact that it is a small standalone grid. One way to study this problem is to take high-resolution solar measurements in multiple locations and model simultaneous PV production for various sizes at those locations. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) collected high-resolution solar data at four locations on the island where proposed PV plants will be deployed in the near future (Fig. 1). This data set provides unique insight into how the solar radiation may vary between points that are proximal in distance, but diverse in weather, due to the formation of orographic clouds in the center of the island. Using information about each proposed PV plant size, power output was created at high resolution. The team analyzed this output to understand power production ramps at individual locations and the effects of aggregating the production from all four locations. Hawaii is a unique environment, with extremely variable events occurring on a daily basis. This study provided an excellent opportunity for understanding potential worst-case scenarios for PV ramping. This paper provides an introduction to the datasets that NREL collected over a year and a comprehensive analysis of PV variability in a distributed generation scenario.

Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages4
StatePublished - 2012
Event38th IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference, PVSC 2012 - Austin, TX, United States
Duration: 3 Jun 20128 Jun 2012


Conference38th IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference, PVSC 2012
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityAustin, TX

Bibliographical note

See CP-5500-54141 for preprint

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-5500-56902


  • distributed generation
  • PV variability
  • ramp rates
  • solar irradiance


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