Chile launches online tool to study solar availability

The new site, Solar Energy Explorer, allows developers to study the availability of solar energy in different regions of the country, in order to help the development and implementation process of new renewable energy plants.

The tool, based on Google Maps technology, presents the most detailed information on Chile’s solar energy resources that is available in the public domain. The maps were generated from atmospheric models and GOES EAST satellite imagery for the years 2009 and 2010 with a spatial resolution of 1km.

Users can modify the color scale, range of months, range of radiation included in the solar map and other parameters by clicking on the MAPA SOLAR button.

Clicking on the VISOR button displays a window showing the annual cycle of solar radiation in units of kWh per m2 per day. In addition, the window displays the average energy arriving at a selected point on the map in a year. To activate the graphics, the user needs to click on the map at the point of interest.

The REPORTES button can be used to dynamically generate a PDF file containing information about a specific point that can be chosen by clicking the map, or by entering the coordinates of the site. The report [in Spanish] presents information on the annual cycle of global horizontal radiation, average daily cycles for each month and the average energy that reaches this point daily.

Furthermore, the dynamic report provides detailed information on cloud cover and site topography. A sample file for a randomly selected point has the following format: http://ernc.dgf.uchile.cl/Explorador/Solar2/Reportes//minenergia_solar_5076915c6225c//reporte_solar.pdf

Finally, the online tool has an INFORMACION button that when pressed displays a window with a brief description of the Solar Energy Explorer and also shows the links to download a detailed report on the methodology, validation and an instructions manual with documentation for the website.

This project was commissioned from the Geophysics Department at the University of Chile by the Ministry of Energy of Chile and the German Academy for International Cooperation (GIZ).

pv magazine’s November edition will cover the Chilean photovoltaic market in more detail.