Extreme solar overirradiance events: Occurrence and impacts on utility-scale photovoltaic power plants in Brazil
In contrast to the decades-long accumulated experience of photovoltaic (PV) installations in more temperate climates, the effects of some extreme operating temperatures and extreme solar irradiance levels start to become more noticeable with the uptake of large-scale PV in the sunbelt regions of the world. One such effect is caused by extreme solar overirradiance events, which up to now have been reported in the literature much more for their scientific interest than as a potential problem affecting the operational performance of PV power plants. Solar overirradiance events with a time span of tens of seconds or minutes are associated with the high operating temperatures prevailing in the field at many sites where utility-scale PV power plants start to become widespread, deleterious effects can be observed, which will negatively impact the performance of these generators. Using irradiance data from seven solar measuring stations deployed over distinct regions in Brazil, many of which are hosting megawatt-scale PV power plants, this paper reports on several extreme solar overirradiance events, with measured values above 1367 W/m2 up to 1845 W/m2, lasting from many seconds to a few minutes. Analysis of impacts and consequences from these events on the operational performance of PV generators are addressed, mainly focused on combiner box fuses, inverter overload losses, and inverter maximum power point tracker.