Dataset on PV Production in Snow Covered Mountains



The SUNWELL Modelling Environment is a combination of data and code that models electricity production from satellite-derived irradiance data and other spatial data sets for all of Switzerland. This ensemble accompanies the publication "The bright side of PV production in snow-covered mountains", published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science and reproduces all results and figures of. Code and resources are in their original form (with documentation). A new version with a more generalized application to PV modelling and with more flexibility in terms of input and output formats will be released in the coming months.


All code is written and has to be executed in Matlab. The input and output data sets are also in the Matlab-specific .mat format. Whenever publicly available, the original data is provided as geotif, .xlsx or other common format. This is the case for:

  • Digital Elevation Model (InputsFromMatlab/MSG/OriginalData/ASTERDEM),
  • Landsurface cover type (InputsFromMatlab/MSG/OriginalData/CORINE),
  • Population Density (InputsFromMatlab/MSG/OriginalData/popdensRaster,
  • Electricity production from three of our validation sites (/Validation/WSL),
  • Measured irradiance for two validation sites (/Validation/ASRB) The ‘Metadata’ documents in the respective folders provide further information about the data sources and processing. Figures are produced either in .pdf or .png format.


The central level of the SUNWELL environment holds the 5 Mains, which run the different modelling aspects of the paper; each code is documented separately. Additional code is located in the ‘DataProcessing’ and the ‘functions’ folder. Functions are called in the different Mains.

‘InputsFromMatlab’ contains the radiation and albedo input data sets in separate subfolders (SIS/SISDIR/ALB). The original data is not publicly available, but can be requested for research purposes free of charge. We provide a processed subset of the data set that was used to run the SUNWELL simulations. The MSG subfolder contains additional spatial input data sets.

‘Outputs’ contains the output files from the different mains (matching names, Main_CHallpixels.m  Prod_CHallpixels)

‘Publication_figures’ contains all individual figures from the PNAS publication, as well as the generating code (/code_plot) and the power point figures (/ppts) that provide the combined final figures.

‘Validation’ contains the data sets used in the model validation:

  • Electricity production from three of our validation sites (/WSL),
  • Measured irradiance for two validation sites (/ASRB)

Electricity production from a validation site at Lac des Toules in Wallis (/LDT), this data set was provided under an NDA and cannot be made publicly available.

Paper Citation:

Annelen Kahl; Jérôme Dujardin; Michael Lehning (2018). Dataset on PV Production in Snow Covered Mountains. PNAS - Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. (in press)

Metadata Access
Creator Annelen, Kahl,; Jérôme, Dujardin,; Michael, Lehning, 0000-0002-8442-0875
Publisher EnviDat
Publication Year 2018
Funding Reference Funding information not available.,
Rights odc-odbl; ODbL with Database Contents License (DbCL)
OpenAccess true
Contact envidat(at)
Language English
Resource Type Dataset
Version 1.0
Discipline Environmental Sciences
Spatial Coverage (5.956W, 45.818S, 10.492E, 47.808N); Switzerland