This paper presents a detailed characterization of the performance and dynamic behaviour of photovoltaic systems by using LabVIEW real-time interface system. The developed software tool integrates several types of instruments into a single system which is able to offer online measurements all data sources and comparison simulation results with monitored data in real-time. Comprehensive monitoring and analyzing of PV systems play a very important role. The proposed method is a low-cost solution to provide fast, secure and reliable system by making the system database-ready for performance analysis of PV systems. The proposed method is also applied to a grid connected PV system in the Centre de Developpement des Energies Renouvelables (CDER) in Algeria. The results show that there is a good agreement between the measured and simulation results values. The integration methodology of robust simulation and monitored data in real-time can be extended to study the fault diagnosis of a PV system. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.