Solar Resource Assessment
Solar Resource Assessment (SRA) refers to the analysis of a prospective solar energy production site with the end goal being an accurate estimate of that facility’s annual energy production (AEP). As the designer, manufacturer, and provider of equipment used to conduct measurement campaigns in support of that goal, we at NRG often use the term “SRA” in reference to site-specific measurement. That is, the systematic collection of “ground truth” meteorological data for the purpose of lowering the uncertainty of the AEP estimate.
Contrary to a few short years ago, the routine collection of site-specific solar resource data has quickly become standard practice in the utility-scale solar PV industry, just as it is in wind. When properly installed and maintained, site-specific SRA campaigns provide an accurate context from which long-term satellite-derived irradiance data can be corrected. Together this combination of short-term “ground truth” and long-term satellite-derived data provide the lowest possible uncertainty for your prospective project, making it the preferred methodology by leading financial institutions. This uncertainty reduction translates to improved financial terms and faster return on investment.
How to measure
Over a period of one to several years, project developers use pyranometers to measure the solar resource, typically mounted on a short mast. Data from a variety of other met sensors are also collected to help characterize the resource, inform plant design decisions and estimate PV panel efficiency. Once installed, regular maintenance of the system is critical to produce meaningful resource assessment results. Most importantly, this entails cleaning pyranometers routinely (e.g., as frequently as every week depending on the site).
Our SRA product portfolio offers a complete toolkit for the utility-scale photovoltaic project developer. From the sensors to the data logger to the tower they are mounted on, our products are designed to integrate seamlessly for easy installation and precise data collection.To learn how we can help with not just equipment but installation and ongoing maintenance, visit our SRA System product page.