International Solar Resource Assessment Cooperative Programs to Support Renewable Energy Grid Integration
“This paper summarizes results from a major ongoing international solar resource assessment cooperative R&D program called “Solar Resource Assessment and Forecasting” (Task 46), which is a multi-year task under the International Energy Agency’s Solar Heating and Cooling Implementing Agreement. About 76 solar resource assessment experts representing approximately 15 countries are involved in the Task, either as official participants designated through country National Participation Letters, or as guests. The Task originally began in July 2005 as Task 36 “Solar Resource Knowledge Management”. Task 46 is currently focusing on four major cooperative research areas: 1) Solar resource variability and its implications for grid integration, 2) data bankability and data adaptation techniques, 3) solar resource forecasting, including nowcasting, 1-6-hour ahead, and 1-7-day ahead forecast horizons, and 4) R&D to improve data retrieval methods from satellite observations. Recent results include a comprehensive overview of data variability studies, and an updated Best Practices Handbook for solar resource assessment, produced by NREL in collaboration with Task 46 participants.
This paper will highlight a few other key recent results in the task. Results will be shown of the solar resource forecasting benchmarking studies that are examining the use of ground-based monitoring networks and Total Sky Imagers for short-term forecasts, Cloud Motion Vectors for 1-6-hour ahead forecasts, and Numerical Weather Predication Models for forecast horizons of several days. Recent results in data adaptation techniques and improving Typical Meteorological Year data sets will also be presented. Studies examining various ways of improving how aerosol optical depth can be better characterized in the satellite-derived models have also been completed, and some recent work on the circumsolar issue was published in the Solar Energy Journal by a number of Task Participants.
Task 46 has strong connections with other international solar resource assessment programs, which will be highlighted in the paper. For example, a number of participants have been involved in the development of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) Global Solar and Wind Atlas. There is also a strong connection with the World Bank’s Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP) Resource Mapping Project, which is being implemented in several developing countries in Africa and Asia. Several participants are engaged in the Solar Resource Assessment and TMY Standardization activities through the IEC and ISO TC180 Liaison. And finally there is a connection between Task 46 and the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) Energy Community of Practice working group. Task 46 also maintains strong collaboration with Task 14 of the IEA/Photovoltaic Power Systems (PVPS), and is represented as Task 6 in the IEA SolarPACES (Power and Chemical Energy Systems) Implementing Agreement.”