In recent years, satellite-based solar radiation data resolved in spectral bands have become available. This has for the first time made it possible to produce maps of the geographical variation in the solar spectrum. It also makes it possible to estimate the influence of these variations on the performance of photovoltaic (PV) modules. Here, we present a study showing the magnitude of the spectral influence on PV performance over Europe and Africa. The method has been validated using measurements of a CdTe module in Ispra, Italy, showing that the method predicts the spectral influence to within ±2% on a monthly basis and 0.1% over a 19-month period. Application of the method to measured spectral responses of crystalline silicon, CdTe and single-junction amorphous silicon (a-Si) modules shows that the spectral effect is smallest over desert areas for all module types, higher in temperate Europe and highest in tropical Africa, where CdTe modules would be expected to yield +6% and single- junction a-Si modules up to +10% more energy due to spectral effects. In contrast, the effect for crystalline silicon modules is less than ±1% in nearly all of Africa and Southern Europe, rising to +1% or +2% in Northern Europe.
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