In addition to the Meteo Database that is included in the software, PVsyst gives access to many meteorological data sources available on the web and includes a tool to easily import the most popular ones. These are summarized in the table below, and we have compared their results.

 

 

Sources of Meteo data in hourly values

  • Meteonorm hourly values are not measured, but are rather synthetic data that are constructed in the same way as the synthetic hourly values in PVsyst from monthly values. Constructing hourly data in Meteonorm instead of PVsyst may give slightly more realistic results since the models (especially for temperature) have been slightly improved, and wind velocities are also generated (although reliability is uncertain).

  • Satellight provides real measured data in hourly values, over 5 years (1996-2000), for any pixel of 5x7 km² in Europe.

  • US TMY2/3 data (Typical Meteorological Year) are compilations of measured hourly data chosen between 1961 and 1990, for 1020 locations in the US. This is also a standard format used for other kinds data, used for example as input for the SAM  software  (Solar Advisor Model). 

  • Solar Prospector provides hourly values, including ambient temperature, for any location in the USA. It covers the years 1998-2009, and provides also TMY data. The data can be downloaded in CSV or TMY2 format. This web service is for free.

  • Canadian EPW data (Typical Meteorological Year) are compilations of measured hourly data chosen among  1953-1995, for 72 locations in Canada.

  • SolarAnywhere provide solar satellite data for locations within the continental U.S. and Hawaii. The period from 1998 to 2009 is free of charge. 

  • Helioclim-3 provides data in hourly values, measured by Meteosat, since February 2004. These data are not free but data for 2005 is available for tests.

  • SolarGIS climData provides fast access to high-quality solar and meteorological data covering the last 17 years and updated in real time. Hourly time series or Representative Meteorological Year (RMY) for any selected period are available for any location in Europe, Africa, Asia, and parts of Australia and South America. The meteo variables are computed by modern methods from satellite and meteorological data, and they are available in the PVsyst format. The recent IEA SHC Task 36 study conducted by the University of Geneva (Dr. Pierre Ineichen) evaluated SolarGIS data as the best available on the market in terms of bias. The data are paid for a per-point basis. SolarGIS data specification 2011-03 [PDF]

  • 3Tiers also provides hourly data measured by satellites, recent, for any location on the earth.

 

 

Sources of Meteo data in monthly values

  • Meteonorm monthly irradiance data are available for about 1,200 "stations" as averages of 1960-1991 (and also 1981-2000 in version 6.0). All "stations" (i.e., with irradiance measurements) of the main European countries are referenced in the PVsyst database. Data for any other site may be obtained by interpolation (usually between the 3 nearest "stations").

  • NASA-SSE(Surface Meteorological and Solar Energy Programme) hold monthly satellite data for a grid of 1°x1° (111 km) covering the whole world, for a 10-year period (1983-1993).

  • SolarGIS iMaps provide an unlimited access to long-term monthly averages of solar radiation and air temperature in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East in PVsyst format. The data are accessible by paying for an annual license. SolarGIS data specification 2011-03 [PDF]

 

  • PVGIS-ESRA give monthly values interpolated for any geographical location based on the average of 1981-1990 terrestrial measurements for Europe, and satellite 1985-2004 data (Meteosat) for Africa.
  • Helioclim-1 are satellite data from Meteosat given for each year between 1985 and 2005 independently for Europe and Africa.

 

  • Retscreen is a Canadian software that provide a complete database for any location in the world. It is optimized to use the best available data at each location from about 20 sources, the main ones being the WRDC and the NASA irradiance data. Temperatures and wind velocities are also provided, probably with good reliability.


NB: All these monthly data are imported as geographic site files, and will require the construction of Synthetic Generated hourly data files to be used in the simulation.
NB: Monthly values are often given as averages over several years.

 

Database

Region

Values

Source

Period

Variables

Availability

PVsyst import

Meteonorm

Worldwide

Monthly

1700 Terr. Stations

Interpolations

1960-1991

Averages

1995-2005 (V 6.0)

Averages

Gh, Ta Wind Others

Software

Direct by file (300 stations in PVsyst DB)

Meteonorm

worldwide

Hourly

Synthetic

generation

idem

Gh, Dh, Ta

WindVel

Software

Direct by file

Satellight

Europe

Hourly

Meteosat

Any pixel of about 5x7 km2

1996-2000

Gh

No Ta

Web free

Direct by file

US TMY2

USA

Hourly

NREL, 239 stations

TMY

1960-1990

samples

Gh, Dh, Ta,

WindVel

Web free

Included in database

ISM-EMPA

Switzerland

Hourly

22 stations

DRY

1981-1990

samples

Gh, Dh, Ta,

WindVel

Included in PVsyst

Includded in database

Helioclim

(SoDa)

Europe

Africa

Hourly

Meteosat

From 02/2004

Gh

No Ta

Web restricted

2005 free

Direct by copy/paste

NASA-SSE

Worldwide

Monthly

Satellites

1°x1° cells (111x111 km2)

1983-1993

averages

Gh, Ta

Web free

Direct

WRDC

Worldwide

Hourly

Daily

Monthly

1195 stations

1964-1993

each

Gh

No Ta

Web

free

Direct by copy/paste

PVGIS-ESRA

Europe

 

Monthly

Europe : 566 stations interp. 1x1 km2

 

1981-1990

averages

Gh, Ta

Linke turbidity

Web free

Direct by copy/paste

Africa

Africa : Meteosat

(Helioclim-1 database)

1985-2004

Helioclim -1

(SoDa)

Europe

Africa

Monthly

Meteosat

50x50 km2

1985-2005

each year

Gh

No Ta

Web

Restricted

1985-89 free

Direct by copy/paste

RETScreen

Worldwide

Monthly

Compil. 20 sources

Incl. WRDC - NASA

1961-1990

averages

Gh, Ta

WindVel

Software,

free

Direct by copy/paste

SolarGIS

Europe

Africa, Asia

Brazil,

West Australia

Hourly

Meteosat

Approx. 4x5 km2

From 1994

(1999)

Gh, Dh, Ta

Web, paid access

Direct

 

 

A summary of the meteorological databases available with the importing tool in PVsyst