Understanding the amount of sunlight that strikes an area or region is imperative to siting and financing solar power projects. Now Vaisala, an environmental and industrial measurement company, said it has released the results of the largest solar dataset validation study undertaken to date.
Vaisala has previously partnered with International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) to make information from the “Global Atlas for Renewable Energy” publicly available to support renewable energy development worldwide. This information, however, is more nuanced.
The company used independent comparison of satellite and ground-based measurements to ensure accuracy of its measurements. It said the dataset is based on observational data from nearly 200 ground stations across six continents, which is compared and verified with satellite derived irradiance records from five different versions of its global solar dataset. The resulting measurements only have an uncertainty level of uncertainty, of 4.4 percent to 4.9 percent, according to the company.
"Vaisala has been working actively within the energy industry since 2009 to quantify and reduce solar resource uncertainty worldwide," said Gwendalyn Bender, head of Solar Services at Vaisala. "Over the years, we have seen how significantly local factors, such as pollution, dust, or seasonal variation, can influence the accuracy of solar resource information—and thus a project's future solar power generation. In India, for instance, aerosol levels have changed dramatically over the past five years.…By providing multiple, validated datasets that are processed consistently across the globe, our clients can now compare the results to find the solar data source that best fits local conditions."
The results will help international solar developers better site projects in emerging solar markets within Asia, Africa and Latin America. Such markets don’t have institutes like the National Renewable Energy Laboratory or other laboratories that have more localized information.
"Understanding the reliability of resource data through validation is particularly imperative as solar development grows within emerging markets, Bender said. “For example, no other solar data provider has validated the accuracy of its resource information against actual ground observations within the important and thriving Mexican solar market."
The company has made all of its datasets available on its Solar Time Series Tools channel. It allows developers and independent engineers to compare the different datasets as well as understand the uncertainty associated with a solar resource at a project location.Tweet