Solar photovoltaic electricity is a clean and renewable energy used to increase access to energy particularly powering remote communities as well as mitigate climate change. Solar PV technology has gained recognition worldwide as an alternative to fossil fuel and nuclear electricity generation. Large scale solar power plants require huge investment therefore having knowledge about climate change impacts on PV modules help investors, designers and policy makers to be able to make proper financial planning, technology selection, energy output projections and mitigation measures in place.
In this research thesis, the main aim is to assess the impact of climate change on the energy output of photovoltaic modules, found in The Gambia, in the near and far future.
In this research thesis, we investigate how projected changes in temperature and solar radiation over the 21st century will impact on solar photovoltaic energy output. The results obtained for the characterization of the performance of the PV modules show that there is direct proportionality between output power and solar radiation and a negative relation between output power and temperature. This means that increase in solar radiation give higher current and power output
while increase in temperature reduces the output voltage and hence the power of PV modules.
Projected climate data was obtained from the IPCC Coupled Model Intercomparison Phase 5 (CMIP5) under the Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs) of RCP4.5 and RCP8.5 scenarios. RCP8.5 describes a future world of rapid economic growth with no mitigation and adaptation strategies considered while RCP4.5 describes a future world of rapid economic growth until 2040 and a balanced use of renewable and fossil fuel power generation with mitigation measures in place. The projections obtained under the RCP8.5 scenario show a continuous increasing trend of temperature and a decline in solar radiation to the end of the 4 21st century while RCP4.5 depicts an increase trend for temperature and decline in solar radiation until mid-21st century then it stabilizes thereafter. The increase in temperature and decrease in solar radiation consequently have a negative effect on the efficiency and power output of the PV modules