We analyze the output of various state-of-the-art irradiance models for photovoltaic systems. The models include two sun position algorithms, three types of input data time series, nine diffuse fraction models and five transposition models (for tilted surfaces), resulting in 270 different model chains for the photovoltaic (PV) system simulation. These model chains are applied to 30 locations worldwide and three different module tracking types, totaling in 24,300 simulations. We show that the simulated PV yearly energy output varies between −5% and +8% for fixed mounted PV modules and between −26% and +14% for modules with two-axis tracking. Model quality varies strongly between locations; sun position algorithms have negligible influence on the simulation results; diffuse fraction models add a lot of variability; and transposition models feature the strongest influence on the simulation results. To highlight the importance of irradiance with high temporal resolution, we present an analysis of the influence of input temporal resolution and simulation models on the inverter clipping losses at varying PV system sizing factors for Lindenberg, Germany. Irradiance in one-minute resolution is essential for accurately calculating inverter clipping losses.
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