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This paper describes a general method on how to monitor renewable energy systems (RES) and evaluate the data in such a way that the operating conditions and performance of individual components and the system as a whole can be analysed and compared. The enormous variation between RES, which is the result of user requirements and local climatic conditions, makes it necessary to classify different installations into categories of similar use. Only installations belonging to the same category of use can be compared in a meaningful manner. First results in the development of a similarity index and in identifying and describing categories of similar use are presented. The project results will make it possible to match any installation to a category which resembles its operating conditions most closely.