Abstract This paper focuses on a novel approach to the prediction of Voltage–Current ( V– I) characteristics of a Photovoltaic panel under varying weather conditions and also the modelling of hourly cloudless solar radiation to provide the insolation on a PV module of any orientation, located at any site. The empirical model developed in this study uses standard specifications together with the actual solar radiation and cell temperature. This proposed work develops a Matlab–Simulink model to generate solar radiation at any location and for any time of the year. A new model for V– I characteristics and maximum power operation of a Photovoltaic (PV) module is also presented, which aims to model the effect on V– I and P– V curves of varying climatic conditions. Moreover, this model has been implemented using the Matlab–Simulink and is used to investigate the effect of meteorological conditions on the performance of a PV module generator. Thus the combined model of cloudless solar radiation and the photovoltaic module provides a tool that may be loaded in the library for analysis purpose. It is found that the predicted solar radiation strongly agrees with the experimental data.