Author

Anthony Lopez

Date of Award

10-25-2015

Document Type

Capstone Project

Degree Name

M.S.

Keywords

Solar irradiance gridded dataset, energy systems, ground measurements, atmospheric or meteorological reanalysis data

Department

Geography

Abstract

The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory and collaborators are updating the National Solar Radiation Database with the next-generation satellite-based solar resource assessment known as the Physical Solar Model (PSM). This is part of an effort to achieve NREL and DOE’s goal to make solar energy technologies cost competitive with other forms of energy in the United States. Required in this effort is the selection of an appropriate meteorological reanalysis product- that provides critical inputs for solar energy estimation. This analysis quantitatively and qualitatively assessed the spatial and temporal accuracy of three meteorological reanalysis products using ground measurements. It was found that the NASA MERRA and CFSR reanalysis products had similar accuracies while the NARR reanalysis exhibited the least accuracy. NASA MERRA exhibited superior accuracy in total precipitable water and atmospheric pressure, which made its use in radiative transfer modeling most justifiable.

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