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How to import Solargis hourly data into PVsyst

In PVsyst software the process of importing Solargis values of irradiation and temperature is very easy and straight forward. PVsyst simulation engine runs the simulation taking into account global horizontal irradiation, diffuse horizontal irradiation and temperature (and wind speed if available).

PVsyst users can proceed in two complementary ways when importing Solargis hourly data. One option is using a Typical Meteorological Year (TMY) file, which summarizes weather conditions in one single year of hourly data. Other option is using a Time series file, from which several separated one year periods for specific years can be created in PVsyst weather database.

Importing Solargis weather info contained in csv hourly files when working with PVsyst takes only few seconds (tested in version 6):

  1. Go through "Databases" - "Import meteo data" to open a dialog named "Import meteo data from different sources".
  2. Select external data source "Solargis (Worldwide)" hourly option (green color in drop-down box).
  3. Select the Solargis csv file and fill the site and country information required. After clicking on “Import”, PVsyst will create one hourly meteo file (.MET) for one-year period, which can be used when simulating designed systems.
pvsyst solargisimport1

Most common issues when importing Solargis hourly data into PVsyst

Time Zone. PVsyst most recent versions admit data importing in Universal Time Coordinated (UTC) time reference. When this is not the case, in Solargis we are also supporting older versions by providing csv files in Longitudinal Time Zone (LTZ) time reference, which is based on using longitudinal reference of the site as longitude°/15 (rounded value). Please note that in many regions the time zone based on longitudinal reference will deviate from the legal time.

Data Time-step. Other time steps like sub-hourly or daily are also admitted in PVsyst. Although importing such files is not so direct, it is possible through "Databases" - "Import ASCII meteo file”. A dialog named "Conversion of ASCII meteo sub-hourly files” will be opened showing other customizable importing options. This option is also suitable when using older data formats which are not supported anymore.

Data format. Although recent versions of PVsyst 6 support Solargis csv hourly format, some older versions of PVsyst only accept data in “PVsyst Standard Format”, which can be chosen from the drop-down box when importing data. Solargis also supports this format for such cases when last versions of PVsyst are not available.

Period not starting in January. For certain regions, Solargis full time series data file is starting in July 2006 (starting of operations of the satellite over Pacific region). In this case, if a period from January to December is required, Solargis csv file needs to be adjusted by removing the first rows from #54 to #4469 (corresponding to dates from July to December 2006). Before importing the data, the period should be also adjusted manually in rows #19 and #25 accordingly (01/01/2007 instead of 01/07/2006).

Older versions of PVsyst may not support direct import of CSV files. In such case, there is another option which allows copy-pasting values:

  1. Go through "Tools" - "Geographical sites" to open dialog named "Choosing a geographical site".
  2. Create new site and fill in the required values on the first tab.
  3. Then go to "Monthly meteo" tab and copy paste them from the pvPlanner report in XLS format. Be sure irradiation units are selected correctly. Synthetic hourly time-series can be also generated afterwards.
pvsyst solargisimport3

Remove horizon

In order to run the synthetic generation of hourly data correctly, and be able to apply horizon shading analysis using PVsyst afterwards, please note that the data in XLS or CSV format needs to be extracted from pvPlanner without horizon shading:

  1. Go to pvPlanner main configuration screen and select the 'Horizon Editor'.
  2. Set the horizon values to zero. You can easily do that by deleting the values on the right side and typing the data pairs 0:0 and 359:0. Then click on apply (please see image below).
  3. Download the new XLS or CSV files from the pvPlanner section 'report'.
horizon removal

Importing pvPlanner horizon data into PVsyst

There is no direct import of Solargis pvPlanner horizon data in PVsyst. This is because, we are using pure geographical convention:

  • 0 - North
  • 90 - East
  • 180 - South
  • 270 - West
hor file

Whereas, PVsyst defines "0" as direction "towards the sun at noon". So, 0 is South on Northern hemisphere and North at Southern. Therefore, you may need to manually modify the CSV/HOR file with the DEG format suitable for PVsyst and then import the same into horizon editor. Please note that the CSV file should be saved in .HOR format to be imported into PVsyst.

You may follow the below steps in importing pvPlanner horizon data into excel and finally conversion into the suitable Deg format as per PVsyst requirement.

Step1: Click modify horizon in our pvPlanner tool (after selection of site)

horizon2

Step 2: Select and copy the horizon edition text

horizon3

Step 3: Open a notepad and paste. Then select all data -> select edit tab -> click replace option

horizon4

Step 4: Replace colon with a semi-colon

horizon5

Step 5: Paste in excel sheet and select Data -> text to columns -> select semicolon as delimiters

horizon6

Step 6: Confirm text to column conversion

horizon7

Step 7: Now the columns are separated. Now you will need to apply the degree conversion as per PVsyst requirement.

horizon8

Step 8: In the last step, you will need to correct the degree as per PVsyst requirement. This can be done by summing -180 to each point in the first column. Finally, save the file in .hor extension before importing into PVsyst. Please find the sample .HOR file below.

horizon9

Result:

horizon10