Solar developers and investors can now analyze and compare potential locations for projects in Pacific island countries with the click of a button, thanks to the World Bank’s web-based Global Solar Atlas. The Global Solar Atlas helps solar developers and policymakers examine potential sites for projects through an open source mapping tool. The maps provide high resolution geographic and meteorological data, allowing users to compare prospective locations for solar projects in regions or across multiple counties simultaneously.
“The World Bank is seeing greater interest from our clients in solar power, largely due to a dramatic drop in solar prices over the past few years. We hope that the Global Solar Atlas will help inform the crucial planning and investment decisions needed over the next decade to shift to more sustainable forms of energy,” said Riccardo Puliti, senior director and head of the World Bank’s energy and extractives global practice.
The Global Solar Atlas is funded by a trust overseen by the World Bank’s Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP) and commissioned by the International Finance Corporation. ESMAP is currently creating a similar mapping platform for wind power development around the world that is expected to be completed by the end of 2017.
To insure that the mapping data is valid and accurate, ESMAP is working with the Sustainable Energy Industry Development Project and the Pacific Power Association to conduct a two-year solar and wind ground-based measurement study to produce higher quality data. The organization will collect data using extremely accurate solar radiation sensors and comprehensive GPS data. More accurate mapping will assure investors and solar developers that potential solar projects are in the most efficient and productive locations.
“This new tool provides an initial indication of solar resource potential before governments and investors carry out their own more detailed analysis and will likely make it easier for Pacific island countries to adopt solar power where appropriate,” said Mr Andrew Daka, executive director, Pacific Power Association.
Other global renewable energy mapping tools have been released over the last couple of years. For instance, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) made the “Global Atlas for Renewable Energy” available for free download in August 2016. With data provided by Vaialsa, users can utilize the mapping application to analyze annual solar irradiation and wind speed around the world. The data will bolster early stage financial risk assessment for projects and maximize renewable energy development in new markets.Tweet