In selecting a mathematical model for simulating physical behaviours, it is important to reach an acceptable compromise between analytical complexity and achievable precision. With the aim of helping researchers and designers working in the area of photovoltaic systems to make a choice among the numerous diode-based models, a criterion for rating both the usability and accuracy of one-diode models is proposed in this paper. A three-level rating scale, which considers the ease of finding the data used by the analytical procedure, the simplicity of the mathematical tools needed to perform calculations and the accuracy achieved in calculating the current and power, is used. The proposed criterion is tested on some one-diode equivalent circuits whose analytical procedures, hypotheses and equations are minutely reviewed along with the operative steps to calculate the model parameters. To assess the achievable accuracy, the current-voltage (I-V
) curves at constant solar irradiance and/or cell temperature obtained from the analysed models are compared to the characteristics issued by photovoltaic (PV) panel manufacturers and the differences of current and power are calculated. The results of the study highlight that, even if the five parameter equivalent circuits are suitable tools, different usability ratings and accuracies can be observed.
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