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Climate change impact on future photovoltaic resource potential in an orographically complex archipelago, the Canary Islands

Pérez, Juan C., González, Albano, Díaz, Juan P., Expósito, Francisco J., Felipe, Jonatan
Renewable energy 2019 v.133 pp. 749-759
climate, climate change, climate models, cloud cover, data collection, ecosystems, greenhouse gas emissions, irradiation, renewable energy sources, solar collectors, summer, temperature, winter, Atlantic Ocean, Canary Islands
It is widely accepted by the scientific community that in the coming decades the Earth's climate will undergo significant changes, which will affect the ecosystems and the population in various ways. In this work, climate change impacts on solar photovoltaic (PV) resources were evaluated in the Canary Islands, an orographically complex archipelago located in the sub-tropical Atlantic Ocean, using high resolution dynamical downscaling techniques. To alleviate the high computational cost of high resolution simulations, the pseudo-global warming technique was used to compute the initial and boundary conditions from a reanalysis dataset and from the monthly mean changes obtained by the simulations of fourteen global climate models included in the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5). Projections of annual-mean daily irradiation and PV potential were obtained for two future decades (2045–2054 and 2090–2099) and for two different greenhouse gas emission scenarios (RCP4.5 and RCP8.5), and the corresponding results were compared with those for a recent period (1995–2004). During winter, a generalized increase in PV potential is expected, as a consequence of a reduction in cloud cover. However, during summer, future simulations indicate a decrease in PV potential because of the rise of temperature and, therefore, a reduction in PV panel efficiency.