Renewable Energy, Vol.145, 478-489, 2020
Simulated local climatic impacts of large-scale photovoltaics over the barren area of Qinghai, China
Solar energy has developed rapidly in recent years, and its impacts on climate have been revealed mainly through model simulations and limited field observations. However, the representation of solar plants in these models is highly simplistic and does not account for dynamical effects, which may pose risks under the simulations for tracking photovoltaics (PV). To make a more comprehensive assessment of the PV-induced climatic impacts, it is relevant to further develop a more sophisticated PV module based on the observed PV-induced impacts from specific cases. To remedy the deficiencies in the existing PV energy models, the newly sophisticated PV module established in this paper includes both the land surface radiation balance, sensible heat balance and the surface physical dray process over the locations of PV plants. It is then used to simulate the local climatic impacts of PV plants through three parallel sensitivity experiments. Comparison analysis between control run and two PV installation scenarios showed obvious changes in the 10-m wind speed, land surface temperature, and 2-m specific humidity were found locally over the locations of PV plants during both the warm and cold periods. The magnitudes of these changes are positively related to the installed capacity of the PV plants, but are much smaller than the natural climate variations. It is expected that the observation-based PV module established in this paper is a meaningful attempt for the model simulation on this field. (C) 2019 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.