Developing and financing solar around the world just got a lot easier thanks to the release of the online Global Solar Atlas. The new tool, introduced by the International Solar Alliance (ISA) and the World Bank allows investors and policymakers from around the world access to 22 years of solar radiation data from satellite and ground-based measurement. The tool enables users to evaluate potential solar sites in one region or in multiple countries simultaneously.
“The World Bank is seeing a surge of interest from our clients in solar power as a result of the dramatic cost decreases over the past few years. We hope that the Global Solar Atlas will help inform the crucial planning and investment decisions that will need to be taken 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 & Extractives Global Practice.
The Global Solar Atlas was funded by the World Bank’s Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP) and increases cooperation between the World Bank and ISA. It will help the organizations scale up financing and promote renewable energy development in client countries. By utilizing the web tool, it can help governments and utility regulators save millions of dollars in investing in solar radiation research.
“This new tool will assist governments and investors to obtain an initial indication of solar resource potential before carrying out their own more detailed analysis,” said Piyush Goyal, Indias’s minister of state at the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy. “I am grateful to the World Bank for providing this tool, and have no doubt it will be accessed regularly by many users.”
The Global Solar Atlas, developed by solar resource data provider Solargis, displays average yearly solar projections along with high-resolution map tools. It complements the geographic data accessible through the International Renewable Energy Agency’s (IRENA) Global Atlas for Renewable Energy. As such users can overlay information from the two platforms about existing power transmission infrastructure and protected areas to evaluate relevant sites for future solar development.
However, the tool’s database of information is not yet complete in many developing countries because there remains an insufficient amount of terrestrial based measurement data from solar radiation sensors. To fix the problem and make the data more valuable World Bank and ESMAP will construct solar measurement stations in 20 developing countries during the next four years.
The release of the Global Solar Atlas comes on the heels of IRENA’s new report, REthinking Energy, which lays out worldwide renewable energy predictions from now until 2030. As a result of solar costs falling during recent years, the costs of utility-scale solar power is now competitive with new fossil fuel power plants, according to IRENA. This tool new tool is helping bring those costs down further by lower research costs and increasing reliable knowledge of solar resources.Tweet