Global horizontal irradiance (GHI) is typically used to model the power output of distributed photovoltaic (PV) generation. On the one hand, satellite estimations are nonpervasive and already available from commercial providers, but they have a limited spatiotemporal resolution. On the other hand, local estimations, e.g., from pyranometers, sky-cameras, and monitored PV plants, capture local irradiance patterns and dynamics, but they require in situ monitoring infrastructure and upgrading the asset of electrical operators. Considering that in most power systems, PV generation is typically the aggregated contribution of many distributed plants, are local GHI estimations necessary to characterize the variability of the power flow at the grid connection point (GCP) and detect violations of the limits of voltages and line currents accurately? To reply, we consider GHI measurements from a dense network of pyranometers (used to model the ground truth GHI potential), satellite estimations for the same area, and information about a medium and low voltage distribution system. We perform load flows at different levels of installed PV capacity and compare the nodal voltages, line currents, and the power at the GCP when the irradiance is from pyranometers and when from satellite estimations, deriving conclusions on the necessity, or not, of highly spatiotemporally resolved irradiance estimations.

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