Low pressure impacted Europe PV production in April

Solar power production
Image: Solcast GHI Analysis 2023

Solar operators in the Iberian Peninsula benefitted from solar irradiance 20% to 30% above average during April, according to data collected by Solcast, a DNV company, via its Solcast API Toolkit.

However, for much of Western and Central Europe, irradiance was below average, with parts of Ukraine being as much as 40 percent below average. Solar power production on the Iberian Peninsula exceeded 12 GW on most days of the month, which was a significant proportion of the peak of around 60 GW for available Europe-wide figures for the month.

Weather conditions in Europe for April were consistent with the negative phase of the North Atlantic Oscillation. This climate phenomenon is associated with anomalously low surface pressures over Western Europe. This manifested as stronger low-pressure systems and associated frontal passages across Western and Central Europe. These brought more clouds, which reduced solar irradiance across countries, including France, Germany and Poland. Impacts were greatest for Ukraine, which experienced heavy rainfall and flooding.

Conversely, over the Iberian Peninsula, as well as in northern zones around Finland, higher than average surface pressures were observed. These brought a greater than usual incidence of clear sky conditions conducive for solar production.

Solcast produces these figures by tracking clouds and aerosols at 1-2 km resolution globally, using satellite data and proprietary AI/ML algorithms. This data is used to drive irradiance models, enabling Solcast to calculate irradiance at high resolution, with typical bias of less than 2%, and also cloud-tracking forecasts. This data is used by more than 300 companies managing over 150 GW of solar assets globally.

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