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EU Science Hub

September 2017

The new version of PVGIS includes new features and improved datasets and estimation methods. PVGIS 5 lets you do new things that were not possible with PVGIS 4, and we have introduced a number of improvements in the solar radiation and PV energy yield estimates The most important new features are described here.

New interface

The new PVGIS web interface is easier to use with easily accessible help and guidance for the user:



The new interface is available in four languages:




New solar radiation data

The solar radiation databases no longer include ground measurements, but now contain only satellite retrieved estimations. This has enabled us to increase considerably the geographical extension of PVGIS and provide now data for most of the Americas.

We have added data from the CM SAF SARAH solar radiation data set to the options for calculating solar radiation and PV performance in Europe and Africa. In the present PVGIS 4 these data were used only for estimates in Asia. The SARAH data also cover parts of South America.

Thanks to a collaboration with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory we have included the solar radiation data from the National Solar Radiation Database (NSRDB) in PVGIS. PVGIS now works in North and Central America too! We are much indebted to Dr. Manajit Sengupta and Mr. Aron Habte of NREL for this.

The satellite-based solar radiation data used in PVGIS do not cover areas at high latitudes. We have therefore added two new data sets to cover Northern Europe, based on Climate Reanalysis data. You can read more about these data sets here.
Improved PV performance estimates

Improved calculation methods

  • The calculations are now based on the complete hourly time series of solar radiation data.
  • The calculation of PV power now takes into account the cooling of the PV modules by wind.
  • Variations in the solar spectrum are now included in the calculation of PV performance, at the moment for crystalline silicon and Cadmium Telluride modules. Note that this is not yet included in the NSRDB data for the Americas.

New data outputs

The solar radiation and PV estimates that can be made with PVGIS 4 are still included in PVGIS 5. We have also added two new options for PVGIS output:

  • Hourly time series of data: With this data output option you have access to all the data used to calculate the PVGIS results. PVGIS can calculate for you the hourly solar irradiance and the PV power. These data are available only for download in CSV format, useful for spreadsheets and data processing tools such as Python, R, or Matlab.
  • Typical Meteorological Year: With this option you can get a complete one-year data set that can be used in calculations of the energy performance of buildings (as well as many other applications). PVGIS can output these data in a format suitable for the EnergyPlus software.

Non-interactive interface to PVGIS

Many users need to access PVGIS for a larger number of sites or with many different options. This becomes very time-consuming when using the PVGIS interface directly. There have also been a number of users who would like to use PVGIS results in their own calculations or to create apps that use PVGIS data. For these users we now have methods to access PVGIS data without using the web interface. More information can be found here.