Impacts of solar intermittency on future photovoltaic reliability

Jun Yin, Annalisa Molini, Amilcare Porporato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


As photovoltaic power is expanding rapidly worldwide, it is imperative to assess its promise under future climate scenarios. While a great deal of research has been devoted to trends in mean solar radiation, less attention has been paid to its intermittent character, a key challenge when compounded with uncertainties related to climate variability. Using both satellite data and climate model outputs, we characterize solar radiation intermittency to assess future photovoltaic reliability. We find that the relation between the future power supply and long-term mean solar radiation trends is spatially heterogeneous, showing power reliability is more sensitive to the fluctuations of mean solar radiation in hot arid regions. Our results highlight how reliability analysis must account simultaneously for the mean and intermittency of solar inputs when assessing the impacts of climate change on photovoltaics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number4781
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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