PVRadar offers solar project risk assessments factoring in historical climate data

PVRadar Labs has expanded its software platform to include PV project risk assessment functionality, reportedly enabling more realistic performance estimates based on historical climate data.

PVRadar Labs, a Germany-based software company, has expanded the functionality of its PVRadar software platform, adding the ability to model utility-scale project performance using climate data, in addition to soiling and cleaning optimization.

“By using PVRadar developers can do a proper risk assessment to factor in snow losses, soiling, or albedo effects. It is especially useful for European or US-based developers who are entering new geographic markets because the climate data is global,” PVRadar Labs co-founder and CEO, Thore Müller, told pv magazine.

“Originally, the software was set up to optimize PV module cleaning costs at the early stage of planning, but we found that many of our clients struggled to correctly determine loss factors for yield estimation. Usually they use simple tools, like excel spreadsheets, but there is a clear need for accurate prediction based on historic conditions, such as rainfall, snowfall, and particulate matter, for example.”

PVRadar provides historical climate data going back 20 years. It is based on geographical information system (GIS) sources, as well as national weather databases, if available. “We saw that for some project inputs, there is verifiable data available to developers, such as the price of the modules supplied by manufacturers, or the performance attributes supplied by testing labs. But it was not so with climate-related effects and loss factors. Therefore, all too often project developers rely on generalized assumptions, for example assuming a flat 2% soiling loss, which in many dry areas has no relation to reality,” said Müller.

The platform is complementary to internal workflows and commercially available design tools, such as PVCase, PVFarm, PVDesign, or PVSyst. It provides users with realistic loss factor inputs, according to Müller.

Access to the platform comes in two variations, either a single project license or a corporate subscription for unlimited projects. “We have twelve project development companies using the platform for multiple projects. That is because developers are usually assessing a lot more sites than they end up developing. It could be ten designs for every project that gets built,” Franco Clandestino, co-founder and head of product, told pv magazine.

Looking ahead, the team is working on additional risk assessment tools. “We will be continuously adding more models, for example, for the degradation rate, and we will also allow users to create their own models and feed them from our database,” said Müller.

This post appeared first on PV Magazine.

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