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Steps for Solar Resource Assessment in CSP Projects: China

March 09, 2018

From HelioCSP:

According to Solargis, China has good potential to develop CSP industry in terms of solar resources, but with strong geographic diversification. Abundant direct normal irradiance is found in the Western regions of Inner Mongolia, Tibet, Qinghai, Xinjiang and Gansu. Average annual DNI in these regions varies between 1700 and 2300 kWh/m2. For reliable energy simulation it is critical to know the accurate DNI data, as every small deviation has strong impact on calculation of electricity generated and financial cost.

China is one of the most important markets for concentrated solar business. Mr. Marcel Suri, Managing Director of Solargis suggests, “CSP market in China is promising, but due to its complex geography, solar resources and weather conditions for each project have to be carefully evaluated by the combined use of the model data and ground measurements”.

China Direct Normal Irradiance (DNI) Map | Solargis

For a site qualification and yield evaluation of a potential CSP plant, it is highly desirable to have reliable historical time series data of DNI and other weather parameters for at least 10 years. Site-specific satellite data time series are required for the estimate of long-term historical values and to achieve higher accuracy, the data from the models has to be adapted with use of ground measurements acquired for the overlapping period between satellite and ground measurements. To be site-specific, high resolution is required, Solargis historical DNI data have temporal resolution 10-minutes and 30-minutes and grid spatial resolution of 250 m.

Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) plants are capital intensive, but have virtually zero fuel costs, as their fuel is direct sunlight or Direct Normal Irradiance (DNI). Knowledge of quantity, quality and reliability of DNI is essential for accurate analysis of system performance and financial viability of the CSP plant throughout its operation life. Solar irradiance is not under control of plant operator, and variability of sunlight represents one of the greatest uncertainties in the prediction of the power performance.

Solar resource assessment describes characteristic solar radiation conditions based on historical weather data in the form of time-series in high time-resolution. Annual average DNI is a good indicator only for observation of potential annual level in the stage of a pre-feasibility, however there is often large variation of solar radiation values in different seasons through the year, which affect efficiency of the CSP plant significantly.

Solargis makes solar energy assessment simple, reliable, standardized and transparent, to help solar industry be more efficient and cost-competitive on the energy market. Solar and meteorological data, energy simulation services and consultancy offered by Solargis reduce technical and economical uncertainty of solar energy projects, save costs and increase return on investments.

Solargis operates online platform and interactive applications that provide fast access to historical, recent, and forecast data for any location, worldwide. We serve our customers in four major domains:

1. Prospection: Screening and benchmarking project sites
2. Evaluation: Optimization of technical design and maximizing the longterm power production
3. Monitoring: Regular evaluation of performance of the power plants
4. Forecasting: Weather data for nowcasting up to 10 days ahead

Recommended steps for solar resource assessment in CSP projects based on satellite data

1. Country analysis: Country map with long-term annual DNI averages

2. Pre-feasibility study: Long-term monthly DNI averages

3. Feasibility study: Historical time series DNI with (sub) hourly values

4. Site qualification: Ground measurement campaign

5. Due diligence: Bankable consultancy report and site adaptation

Working with 1000+ companies in 90+ countries, including the international leaders in photovoltaic and concentrated solar industries, Solargis has been selected by the World Bank and IFC to provide data and services for their operations. In the collaboration with the World Bank Group, Solargis has developed the online Global Solar Atlas. Solargis provided country data and consultancy services for governmental agencies in South Africa, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Throughout the last few years, Solargis delivered data, consultancy services and bankable expert reports for CSP projects around the world, including projects in South Africa, Saudi Arabia, and Italy. The most recent projects supported by Solargis are Ouarzazate and Midelt in Morocco, Aurora in Australia, Ashalim in Israel, Shams and DEWA in the UAE, and Atacama and Cerro Dominador in Chile etc. Customers appreciate high accuracy and reliability of our data, scientific background of our solutions, user friendly software applications, customized product packages and professional consultancy services.

Solargis data are used also in China’s CSP industry, including projects developed by Guohua Electric, IHW Shouhang, North China Power Engineering, Northwest Electric Power Design Institute, Royal Tech CSP or Tianjin Binhai CSP.

To share the Solargis experience and best practices in solar energy assessment, Mr. Marcel Suri will speak on the upcoming CSP Focus China 2018 conference on March 22-23 in Beijing. Solargis will also showcase expertise in CSP industry and world-wide projects in the exhibition zone.

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