On the impact of haze on the yield of photovoltaic systems in Singapore

André M. Nobre, Shravan Karthik, Haohui Liu, Dazhi Yang, Fernando R. Martins, Enio B. Pereira, Ricardo Rüther, Thomas Reindl, Ian Marius Peters
Renewable Energy

Anthropogenic haze, caused at least in parts by forest and agricultural land clearing fires in Sumatra (Indonesia), is occasionally causing air quality issues in Singapore, located 150–300 km east of the majority of these “hot spots”. The resulting air pollution partially blocks sunlight from reaching the ground, and consequently affects the electric power generation of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems in Singapore. In this work, a methodology is presented to estimate the haze-induced reduction of the light intensity reaching PV panels and the corresponding loss in the electric energy yield. An assessment of a major haze event in June 2013 is the basis for the loss analysis, which takes into account data filtering techniques in order to isolate cloudless conditions for inter-comparison between clear and hazy days. Data from previous years in non-hazy conditions serve as baseline for the determination of the clear sky conditions for Singapore. The novel method is further applied to investigate the power output of ten PV systems in Singapore during the June 2013 haze event. It is found that poor air quality levels during this event caused yield losses of PV systems in Singapore in the range of 15–25%.