Category Archives: Solar

Terrestrial Radiation


The Earth’s atmosphere has several effects on terrestrial radiation. The figure below depicts the relative importance of atmospheric impacts on the sunlight striking the Earth’s surface.  The process poster also depicts the solar energy balance of the Earth-atmosphere system.

Terrestrial Radiation

The major impacts of the atmosphere on sunlight include:

  • A reduction in solar radiation and change in spectral content given atmospheric absorption;

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Basic Principles of Sunlight

I’d put my money on the Sun and solar energy, what a source of power!  We shouldn’t wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that.
– Thomas Edison in conversation with Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone, 1931

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Solar Data

Solar radiation data is best obtained direct from sensors, be it ground stations, satellite observation networks, or modeled solutions that combine both.  To this end, solar data is available from various databases, modeling projects, and commercial venders….all with varying degrees of quality.

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Solar Energy

The Solar Energy section of New Energy Research provides data and information on solar energy assessment and PV performance modeling.  Chapter topics are illustrated in the process poster and subject links below.

Process Poster

Click to enlarge

Section Chapters

Solar resource and engineering performance assessment have several distinct modeling steps.  Section chapters represent different steps in the modeling and due diligence process:

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Extraterrestrial Irradiance

Total Solar Irradiance and the Solar Constant

Extraterrestrial irradiance refers to solar irradiance outside the earth’s atmosphere. Total Solar Irradiance (TSI) is the amount of incoming solar electromagnetic radiation per unit area at the top of the Earth’s atmosphere (TOA).   The solar constant is the mean TSI.

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Direct Normal Irradiance (DNI)

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Diffuse Horizontal Irradiance (DHI)

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Global Horizontal Irradiance (GHI)

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Surface Albedo

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Weather Data

Weather data sources are presented that were collated to support wind and solar resource assessment, engineering design, and power system monitoring.  Data sources include ground stations, satellite observation networks, reanalysis data, forecasts systems, and aerosol models.

All links and content have been extracted from data source websites to facilitate ease of access to data servers.  Please contribute if you find links have changed or data product definitions should be updated.

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Aerosols and Solar Extinction



Desert Aerosols, Doha, Qatar – Click to enlarge

Aerosols directly and indirectly effect the Earth’s radiation budget and climate.  As a direct effect, aerosols absorb and scatter sunlight, affecting the spectral intensity of solar radiation reaching the earth’s surface.   As an indirect effect, atmospheric aerosols modify cloud formation processes and how clouds affect the energy budget.

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UAE Secures 700-MW Concentrated Solar Power

Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) has achieved another world record.  This week, DEWA awarded a 700MW project priced at AED14.2 billion (US$3,86 billion).  The project is the fourth phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park. The award is the largest single-site Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) project in the world.  It is also the largest CSP project based on the IPP model. The contract is awarded to a consortium comprising Saudi Arabia’s ACWA Power and China’s Shanghai Electric.

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CAISO Time-of-Day Power Prices

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CAISO time-of-day power prices are changing.  The daily price profile now reflects a growing premium in the morning and evening hours,  The profile also includes a steeper price discount in the midday hours. The new time-of-day prices represent a market incentive: ramp power supply up or down more quickly on command.

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The Western EIM is Expanding

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The Western EIM (Energy Imbalance Market) is an interregional exchange that is gaining ground as CAISO adopts a larger share of renewable energy production.

What is the Western EIM?

Grid operators use the EIM’s advanced market systems to find the lowest-cost energy to serve real-time customer demand across a wide geographic area. EIM provides transparency on the status of multiple grids.

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U.S. Wind and Solar Energy Exceed 10% of Total Power Output

For the first time, U.S. wind and solar production in March exceeded 10% of total electricity generation, based on March data in EIA’s Electric Power Monthly.

The record contribution for non-hydro renewables comes amid surging installations of both wind and solar in the US, with 14.8GW of solar and 8.2GW of wind added in 2016.  On an annual basis, wind and solar made up 7% of total U.S. electric generation.

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