Super Cheap Solar Power for Dubai

DEWAplotWow! The Dubai Electricity and & Water Authority (DEWA) just completed a tender for 100 MW of solar PV, and the delivered power system price is an amazingly low $0.059 / kWh.

Typically, the leveled cost of energy for solar PV is between $0.085 – $0.11 / kWh for GCC countries given solar irradiance, use of high efficiency panels, and cost competitive engineering. The low end of this range is best suited for vertically integrated OEMs with EPC services, or IPPs with scale in equipment purchasing who buy modules close to the cost of goods sold.  But IPPs with low construction costs are making their mark.

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Solar Energy in Qatar: The Business Case

Qatar_Solar_LCOEThe economics for solar energy in Qatar are challenged by some of the lowest natural gas prices on Earth, combined with a local and subsidized electricity tariff with retail power prices of $0 to $27.40/MWh, commercial prices of $24.66 to  $41.10/MWh, and industrial power prices of $19.18/MWh.

Notwisthstanding, there is still a solid business case for solar energy in Qatar given the rapid decline in capital costs since 2009, and the ability to generate revenues from displaced domestic gas demand that results following the introduction of renewable energy capacity.

Posted in Economics, Natural Gas, Project Valuations, Qatar RE, Renewable Energy, Solar | Comments Off on Solar Energy in Qatar: The Business Case

Popularity of R Programming Language

TIOBE IndexThe popularity of R is rapidly increasing and is well on its way to being a top 10 programming language.  The TIOBE index is a standard indicator of the popularity of all programming languages.  The TIOBE index confirms that a subset of languages – those for computational statistics and data analysis – are gaining increased attention. The clear winner of the pack is the open source programming language R.

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German Renewable Energy Output Tops Lignite

German Renewable Energy OutputGerman renewable energy output became the country’s most important power source for the first time this year, according to Agora Energiewende.

Energy policy in Germany has entered a new phase with nuclear power being permanently phased out. The old controversies are a thing of the past: there is a broad social and cross-party consensus concerning long-term political and energy goals. It is no longer a question of whether the energy system will be overhauled in favour of renewables, but how to go about doing this.

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Wind and Solar Capacity to Pass Nuclear

Nuclear, Wind, and Solar Capacity

Sources: IAEA, EIA, Bloomberg New Energy Finance

Wind and solar capacity are expanding  rapidly and each is well on track to pass nuclear power capacity.  Advocates of nuclear energy have long been predicting its renaissance, but the installation of nuclear capacity appears to be stalled with little to no change in recent years.  Wind energy, by contrast, will have more capacity installed than nuclear by 2015 and solar energy capacity is likely to pass nuclear prior to 2020.   

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Glare from Solar PV Modules

PV_array_glareA common question concerning the safety of photovoltaic (PV) power systems is the impact of reflected sunlight.  PV modules have the potential to impact neighboring structures or activities, notably aviation.  It is important to know where the reflected light will go and what the intensity of the light will be at any point in time.

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Inverters and Inverter Manufacturers


Inverter Cost Components; GTM Research

Inverters are key components in any photovoltaic (PV) power system.  Inverters convert direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC).  They control power factor (e.g. reactive power) and ensure power output quality aligns with downstream equipment specs.  And finally, they play an essential role in the protection, operation and communication philosophy of the solar power plant.

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Renewable Energy and the Carbon Majors

CarbonMajorsThe business case for renewable energy and CO2 reduction is changing as carbon tracking and court cases shift focus from carbon emitters to the ultimate producers of coal, oil and natural gas … to the “carbon majors.”

A 2013 study published in the journal Climatic Change cites 90 companies by name and responsible for 63% of human induced greenhouse gas emissions since the beginning of the industrial revolution.  National industrial plans (NIPs) and energy companies from the US and Europe dominate the list with familiar names like ChevronTexaco, ExxonMobil, Saudi Aramco, British Coal, and RWE.

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Aerosol Animation

Aerosol Optical Depth (AOD) defines the degree to which aerosols prevent the transmission of sunlight by absorption or scattering.  AOD is measured using an integrated extinction coefficient over a vertical column of air.  The extinction coefficient can be used to analyze solar extinction and the performance of solar power systems as a function of location and time.


Posted in Animation, Data, Dust, Meteorology, Modeling, Qatar RE, R Data Import, R Graphics, Resource Assessment, Saudi Arabia, Solar, Spatial Analysis | Comments Off on Aerosol Animation

Crop Raster Images in R

E020N40The maptools package has a pruneMap() function t0 crop map objects in R.  In practice, the function extracts data from SpatialPolygon or SpatialLine objects given a boundary box or specific area of interest.  Unfortunately, there is no equivalent function for high resolution, large data, raster images, which are common in many Earth Science applications.  The following post defines a custom function to crop raster images in R and to extract data from SpatialGridDataFrames.  The function is tested using a raster image from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM; shown at left).  The resulting data is then mapped using the image() function in R.

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R Source Code

WordcloudSource code access is one of the great benefits of R.  Source code is available for base R and over 5,000 open source packages.  There are many reasons to view source code: to know what software does when documentation is vague or incomplete; to combine code objects in custom scripts or libraries; and to change source code as needed.  The following post defines the different types of R source code available and how to access R sources.

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Qatar National Grid (QND95)

surveyingQND95 is a two dimensional coordinate reference system that is the standard for geographic mapping in Qatar.  QND95 is intended for onshore activities only. QND95 provides up-to-date specs to calibrate surveying tools, GPS devices, GIS tools, and analysis activity.  The coordinate reference system facilitates standardization and consistency across activities. 

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New Solar Technology – LCOE Roadmap Qatar

NREL_Best_Research-Cell_EfficienciesBloomberg has released May 2014 PV Spot Prices with current module costs (COGS), margins and sales prices.  This data is extended to profile the levelized cost of  energy (LCOE) for solar PV technology, and is combined with new solar efficiency data to define the LCOE roadmap for solar energy in Qatar going forward.

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RE and Gas Displacement

GasDisplacementA critical component of the economics of renewable energy (RE) is the ability to translate RE production into domestic displacement of natural gas demand.  More important: the ability to sell displaced gas and link the cash flows to the income sheet of a RE power system.  The result can be RE projects that are economically feasibility in the absence of federal subsidies and tax benefits.  Meanwhile, project cash flows tied to natural gas can be 20% to 400% greater than cash flows from power sales, depending on the domestic power tariff in force and the gas marketing strategy used.  

Posted in Economics, Natural Gas, Project Valuations, Qatar RE, Renewable Energy, Solar | Comments Off on RE and Gas Displacement

Solar Data Collection in Qatar

KippZonen_Doha_pyranometers_pyrgeometerSolar data collection, as defined by ISO and WMO standards, is a relatively new activity in Qatar.    This article summarizes initiatives underway.  In nearly all cases, public access to the solar radiation data is  limited since data collection remains immature and unvalidated, or the data is strongly aligned to private commercial interests.  Notwithstanding, data collection efforts are making significant progress and are likely to benefit renewable energy strategy development and policy design at the national level.

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