J. Mater. Environ. Sci. 7 (12) (2016) 4682-4691
Boughamrane et al.
ISSN : 2028-2508
Comparative Analysis of Measured and Simulated Performance of the
Moroccan First MV Grid Connected Photovoltaic Power Plant ofAssa,
Southern Morocco
L. Boughamrane*, M. Boulaid, A. Tihane, A. Sdaq, K. Bouabid and A. Ihlal
Materials and Renewable Energies Laboratory, Department of Physics, Faculty of science, Ibn Zohr University 80000
Agadir, Morocco
Received 26 Jun 2016, Revised 05 Sep 2016, Accepted 10 Sep 2016
*Corresponding author. E-mail: boughamrane@hotmail.com (L. Boughamrane); Phone: + 212661199409
This paper presents preliminary results of actual measured and simulated performances of a first year 806.52 kWp
grid connected photovoltaic power plant located at Assa, southern Morocco (28.63°N - 9.47°W). The PV system
consists of 8 AICHI on-grid PV inverters, 100 kVA each and 3432 SHARP Brand 235 kWp modules. The plant is
divided into two groups of 4 inverters, each inverter is supplied by a PV field consisting of 33 strings of 13 series-
connected modules facing south at a fixed tilt of 20°.The data presented in this study were monitored during the
first year of operation of the plant. The performances of the system were simulated using PVsyst software then
compared with real measured data. By December 31st 2015, the plant supplied 1331.29 MWh to the local utility
grid. The mean actual measured specific yield, final yield, reference yield, system efficiency, performance ratio
and total energy losses are 1650.66 kWh/kWp, 4.57 kWh/kWp/day, 6.763h/day, 9.97%, 70.14% and 2.053
kWh/kWp/day respectively. The predicted values of those parameters are in close agreement with the measured
results. They were found to be 1384.01 MWh, 1716.024 kWh/kWp, 4.68 kWh/kWp/day, 6.022 h/day, 10.36%,
77.9% and 1.331 kWh/kWp/day respectively. The detailed comparative study in this paper serves as a reference
for continuous performance analysis of the PV plant. Besides, the comparison of actual measurements collected
on site with simulated estimates given by PVsyst can help to track closely the power generation, and to establish
an adequate maintenance plan.
Keywords: Photovoltaic, Grid connected, Simulation, Performance
1. Introduction
The international community has finally contracted a historic agreement at COP 21 held in Paris in 2015.
The agreement targets to keep the rise in temperature below 2°C and attempts to limit the temperature increase to
1.5°C. This ambitious goal could be achieved by gradually diminishing fossil fuels consumption and encouraging
the use of green energy resources Morocco, who is hosting the COP 22 in 2016, has announced an ambitious
energy policy aiming at raising the share of green electricity from 42 % in 2020 to 52% by 2030.
PV technologies play a significant part in this green energy plan. The energy yield performance of a PV
system in a given location is important for designing a suitable system to a particular application. A number of
softwares are commercially available for predicting PV systems performances at a location of interest. These
software packages use meteorological databases, PV module and inverter characteristics to predict the energy
yield of PV systems [1]. However, the long-term reliability of photovoltaic plants depends strongly on direct
measurements on site as numerous uncertainties in some data provided (irradiance values, soiling rate...) could
lead to significant power losses and then influence the estimated cost of PV kWh. Indeed, LCOE (Levelized Cost
J. Mater. Environ. Sci. 7 (12) (2016) 4682-4691
Boughamrane et al.
ISSN : 2028-2508
Of Energy) calculation depends on the quality of meteorological data [2]. Direct measurements are then of great
interest. In the present study, the performance analysis and prediction of 806.52 kWp grid-connected PV plant is
carefully carried out in order to study the effectiveness of solar photovoltaic power generation. Actual data
collected during a period of one year (2015) are analyzed and used to calculate the performance parameters of the
plant. A comparison between these data and the simulated parameters using PVsyst software is evaluated [3]. The
performed simulations were achieved using meteorological long-term data generated by NASA.
2. System description and Performance analysis methodology
2.1.Description of the Assa PV power plant
2.1.1 Project context description
The commissioning of the 806.52 kWp solar photovoltaic plant located 3Km from the town of Assa, over an area
of 5 hectares, was held in December 2014. This power plant is part of the national energy policy to secure the
country’s supply of electricity, the promotion of renewable energies and environmental protection and it is the
first of its kind in Morocco to be connected to the MV network allowing stakeholders to gain expertise in
connecting solar power plants to the grid. In fact, in environmental terms, this photovoltaic solar plant, will have
an average energy production of 1.38 GWh per year, thus avoiding emissions of nearly 847 tons of CO2 per year.
In addition, this plant will strengthen the distribution network in the region of Assaand ultimately contribute to
improve the quality of service offered to customers. This project was made possible through a grant provided by
the Government of Morocco with his Japanese counterpart, worth about 60 million MDH (Moroccan Dirham 9
MDH = 1 US$) for the implementation of clean energy promotion project using solar photovoltaic.
Figure 1: View of the 806.52 kWp grid-connected PV system installed at the Assa Town, southern Morocco.
2.1.2. PV array and inverters
Table 1.PV modules specifications:
Nominal parameters
Maximum power [Wp]
Open circuit voltage [V]
Short circuit current [A]
Voltage at max power [V]
Current at max power [A]
L=1652mm ; l=994mm ; H=46mm
J. Mater. Environ. Sci. 7 (12) (2016) 4682-4691
Boughamrane et al.
ISSN : 2028-2508
Table 2.Inverters specifications:
Nominal parameters
Rated power
100 kW
Input voltage range
[290 V ; 540 V]
Operating voltage range
AC 380V ± 38V
Power factor
Efficiency of power conversion
2.1.3. Monitoring and data acquisition
The PV system is installed on a rack structure mounted on the ground, 3Km from the town of Assa (28.6°N
9.5°W) over an area of 5 hectares. The power plant consists of 8 AICHI power conditioner On-grid PV inverters,
and 3432 SHARP NU-235E1H modules; as can be seen in the schematic diagram below. Each inverter is
supplied by a PV field consisting of 33 strings of 13 series-connected modules facing south at a fixed tilt of 20°.
The data acquisition system collects data from different measurements tools as pyranometer, Temperature sensor
and inverters through RS 485 bus. Data logger records and averages within an interval of 1 minute the power
output of each single inverter, global solar irradiation, and ambient temperature as well as DC/AC voltage and
current outputs.
Figure 2: Schematic diagram of Assa photovoltaic power plant.
In order to strengthen the distribution network in the region, the AC energy produced is fed directly to 22 kV grid
utility of Assa via two 04/22 kV Transformers of 630 kVA.
2.2 Performance analysis methodology
2.2.1. Performance parameters
To analyse the performance of a grid connected system, a number of performance parameters are being developed
by International electro- technical commission [4] under reference IEC 61724. These parameters include final
yield, reference yield, performance ratio, system efficiency, and capacity factor.