An accurate assessment of the amount solar radiation incident at specific locations is highly complex due to the dependence of available solar radiation on many meteorological and topographic parameters. Reunion Island, a small tropical French territory, intends to deploy solar energy technologies rapidly. In this context, the variability and intermittency of solar irradiance in different regions of the island is of immediate interest if the generated energy will be integrated in the existing energy network. This paper identifies different features of spatial and temporal variability of daily global horizontal irradiance (GHI) observed on Reunion Island. For this purpose, trends in the mean daily as well as seasonal variability of GHI were investigated. Furthermore, the intermittency and multifractal behaviors of the spatial daily GHI change were examined. Analyzing this daily variability is crucial to day-ahead forecasting of solar resource for better managing solar integration in the power grid, particularly in small island states with isolated power systems. Results revealed that the difference in cumulative GHI for two successive days ranges between −10 and 10 kW/m2/day while the highest and lowest variability of daily change occurs during summer and winter, respectively. The decorrelation distance, which gives a measure of the distance over which the variability at distinct geographic locations become independent of one another at a given timescale, was also calculated. It was found that the average decorrelation distance for day-to-day GHI change is about 22 km, a smaller value than that calculated by the previous studies using much sparser radiometric networks. The Hurst exponent, fractal co-dimension, and Lévy parameter, which describe solar radiation intermittency, were also evaluated for Reunion Island.

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