NREL updates solar radiation database

Nov 28, 2012

The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and collaborators released a 20-year updated version of the U.S. National Solar Radiation Database, a web-based technical report that provides critical information about solar and meteorological data for 1,454 locations in the U.S. and its territories.

The updated database covers 1991-2010 and includes data from 2006-2010 for the first time. It also features improved cloud algorithms for modeling data, and an improved State University of New York (SUNY) model for gridded data based on satellite observations.

The database, which tracks hourly solar and meteorological parameters, is widely used by solar system designers, building architects and engineers, renewable energy analysts and others to plan, size and site solar electric systems.

The National Solar Radiation Database (NSRD) provides solar resource information to industry in support of central and distributed rooftop feasibility studies, economic analyses and research. The database also underlies other industry data and tools, including NREL's Typical Meteorological Year (TMY) data sets, PVWattsTM calculator, Solar Power Prospector and System Advisor Model (SAM).

The project was completed in collaboration with Clean Power Research and the (NCDC). This update, which supersedes the 1961-1990 and 1991-2005 NSRDB releases, is available in three forms:

  • A station-based data set at the 1, 454 stations (860 of the stations have serially complete data records).
  • A 10 km gridded data set (the Clean Power Research SolarAnywhere® v2.2 product based on the SUNY model) for the continental U.S and Hawaii from 1998-2009 (solar radiation values only). NREL has filled gaps in this data set, and the NSRDB version is serially complete.
  • A solar-only enhanced research data set for the 1,454 weather observing stations.
A copy of the 1991-2010 report can be viewed and downloaded without cost on the NCDC website.

The revised National Solar Radiation Database 1991-2010 Update: User's Manual is available on the NREL Renewable Resource Data Center.

The NSRDB solar data fields include global horizontal, direct normal, and diffuse horizontal irradiance. The NSRDB also features a 20-year summary with statistics (monthly/annual, diurnal, and persistence) for the 860 serially complete stations.

NREL has applied uncertainty estimates to each hourly data record to help users determine the suitability of data for each application. Station data are broadly classified based on uncertainty as Class I, II and III. The first two classifications segregate serially complete stations by data of higher and lower quality respectively; Class III stations have data gaps in the period of record, yet hold enough data in the time series to support many applications.

NREL is currently in the process of updating the Typical Meteorological Year data sets using data from the NSRDB update.

Explore further: Green technology saves energy and boosts profits, productivity in factories

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

NREL Updates National Solar Radiation Database

May 25, 2007

The Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and collaborators have updated the National Solar Radiation Database, a planning tool that provides critical information about the amount of solar ...

Clouds' effects on solar power

Sep 01, 2011

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has produced and made available a rich data set showing what happens, second-by-second, when clouds pass over a solar power installation.

Engineers Help Power Solar Use by 'Mapping' the Sun

May 25, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- As the use of solar power grows in California it will become more important to know exactly how much radiation and energy are generated in regions throughout the state. That’s the basis ...

Improved solar variability software in high demand

Sep 25, 2012

Engineers at the University of California, San Diego, have released a new, more accurate version of a software program that allows power grid managers and solar power plant developers to easily model fluctuations ...

Recommended for you

Preparing for a zero-emission urban bus system

2 hours ago

In order to create a competitive and sustainable transport system, the EU must look to alternative fuels to replace or complement petrol and diesel. Not only will this reduce transport emissions but it will ...

Exploring the value of 'Energy Star' homes

2 hours ago

The numbers in neat columns tell—column by column, page by page—a story spread out across Carmen Carrión-Flores' desk at Binghamton University. It's a great story, she says; she just doesn't know how ...

Toward a networked energy future

Oct 29, 2014

February 1, 2050, is a good day for German electricity consumers. The breeze off the north coast is blowing so strongly that offshore wind farms and the wind turbines on land are running non-stop. Since it's ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.