The massive increase in the photovoltaic (PV) deployment over the world, has led to a demand for an accurate understanding of solar resource and its spatiotemporal variability. In addition to the short-term activities, longer time scales are needed for feasibility studies and planning.
For the long perspective, availability of different renewable energy resources under different climate change scenarios become interesting for the energy sector. The possible changes in the actual conditions for the operating plants and the projected resources could vary the financial frame and viability of the projects.
Cloudiness is generally the main source of variability of solar resource but in clear sky conditions, aerosols become the main cause of the depletion in photovoltaic electricity production. The possible changes in solar resource and PV potential in climate change scenarios have been recently investigated over Europe using either global or regional climate models. Whereas global climate models, GCMs, present a clear positive signal for the end of XXI century, some studies show a negative anomaly for the same period in RCMs from EURO-CORDEX ensemble. However, most of the regional studies show limitations due to the lack of consideration of aerosols in the simulations and the application of simplified PV production models.
The aim of this work is trying to explain the reasons behind the different behavior between regional and global climate models focusing on the representation of aerosols in the scenario simulations of RCMs. The projected changes in PV productivity over the Euro-Mediterranean area for the mid of the XXI century are calculated.
Climate modeling is a valuable tool for investigating resources in future conditions as well as for sensitivity studies, despite its low spatial resolution and its known biases in some variables,
In this work, we use regional climate models simulations from the EURO-CORDEX ensemble grouped together by its forcing GCM. Different families of runs are analyzed with only one simulation with evolving aerosols per group. We focus on the RCP8.5 emissions scenario and in mid-century. In addition, a detailed PV model is used to estimate future PV potential over Europe.
Main results show than RCMs simulations including evolving aerosols agree in the sign of the anomaly over Europe in shortwave solar radiation with GCMs for the period (2021-2050) and have the opposite signal than the rest of RCMs simulations. The amplitude of the anomalies with respect to the reference period (1971-2000) depends on the model. These results show the importance of model selection for climate projections for the energy sector.