Climate change impacts on solar power generation and its spatial variability in Europe based on CMIP6
- Journal Article
Rights / licenseCreative Commons Attribution 4.0 International
Solar photovoltaics (PV) plays an essential role in decarbonizing the European energy system. However, climate change affects surface solar radiation and will therefore directly influence future PV power generation. We use scenarios from Phase 6 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP6) for a mitigation (SSP1-2.6) and a fossil-fuel-dependent (SSP5-8.5) pathway in order to quantify climate risk for solar PV in Europe as simulated by the Global Solar Energy Estimator (GSEE). We find that PV potential increases by around 5 % in the mitigation scenario, suggesting a positive feedback loop between climate change mitigation and PV potential. While increased clear-sky radiation and reduced cloud cover go hand in hand in SSP1-2.6, the effect of a decrease in clear-sky radiation is outweighed by a decrease in cloud cover in SSP5-8.5, resulting in an increase in all-sky radiation. Moreover, we find that the seasonal cycle of PV generation changes in most places, as generation grows more strongly in winter than in summer (SSP1-2.6) or increases in summer and declines in winter (SSP5-8.5). We further analyze climate change impacts on the spatial variability of PV power generation. Similar to the effects anticipated for wind energy, we report an increase in the spatial correlations of daily PV production with large inter-model agreement yet relatively small amplitude, implying that PV power balancing between different regions in continental Europe will become more difficult in the future. Thus, based on the most recent climate simulations, this research supports the notion that climate change will only marginally impact renewable energy potential, while changes in the spatiotemporal generation structure are to be expected and should be included in power system design. Show more
Journal / seriesEarth System Dynamics
Pages / Article No.
Organisational unit09451 - Patt, Anthony G. / Patt, Anthony G.
03360 - Schär, Christoph / Schär, Christoph
188601 - Towards an improved understanding of the Global Energy Balance: causes of decadal changes of solar radiation (SNF)
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