NREL & Solar Industry Start Nationwide Measuring Network

The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Iberdrola Renewables have jointly deployed the first of several solar resource measuring stations as part of a planned instrumentation network throughout the United States.

The stations, located across Arizona, are part of NREL’s Solar Resource and Meteorological Assessment Project (SOLRMAP), a collaboration between the national laboratory and the energy industry to collect precise, long-term solar resource measurements. The information will be incorporated into technical analyses that will help to minimize some of the risk associated with the launch of commercial solar energy conversion projects, including concentrated solar power plants.

The inaugural measurement station was installed by NREL and Iberdrola Renewables using an Irradiance Inc. rotating shadowband radiometer for global, direct and diffuse solar measurements. The radiometers will record strength and consistency of the sunlight at the station locations and will collect wind and temperature measurements.

NREL will combine the SOLRMAP data with information at existing regional solar radiation networks to upgrade models supporting a database of 10-km resolution solar resource data across the United States. The data collected will be used by NREL researchers and analysts to sharpen solar modeling, solar resource forecasting and database development.

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