Databases in PVsyst

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.

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 5×7 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 20/15/12 years (depending on the geographical region) and updated in real time. Hourly time series or Typical Meteorological Year (TMY) data are available for any location between latitudes 60N and 50S. The solar and meteo variables are computed by state-of-the-art methods from the satellite, atmospheric and meteorological data, and they are available also in the PVsyst format. The recent IEA SHC Task 46 study conducted by the University of Geneva (Dr. Pierre Ineichen) evaluated SolarGIS data as the most reliable on the market. The data are paid on a per-point basis. Read more at:
    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.