Applications of Global Long-term Estimates of Solar and Meteorological Parameters through NASA's POWER Web Site
The aim of this technical presentation is to introduce and show the utilization of NASA’s POWER Web Services Platform (PWSP) to provide global long-term surface solar and meteorological data products for applications related to solar energy and building energy efficiency and performance. This presentation introduces the PWSP, the data parameters it provides, the sources and uncertainties of those parameters and various web and data services available. The presentation also includes several anecdotal examples of usage and value by using the site demonstrating potential usefulness to the solar energy community. Within NASA’s Earth Science Mission Directorate, the CERES mission data products and the NASA/GEWEX SRB project both provide long-term estimates of global surface solar irradiance. Additionally, NASA’s GMAO MERRA-2 provides a complete historical description of the Earth’s weather using a global model optimized by assimilating a large variety of satellite, radiosonde, aircraft, ship and surface measurements. PWSP provides solar irradiance from direct satellite analysis and meteorological parameters adapted from MERRA-2 customized specifically for renewable energy related applications. These data sets are briefly described with an emphasis on data quality using a statistical comparison between the data values and globally distributed surface solar radiative measurements and meteorological measurements from NOAA. The first version of the modernized POWER web services provides access to both time series and climatological data sets spanning from a few days behind real-time back to the early 1980’s with a spatial resolution of 0.5 x 0.5 degree, thus extending over 35 years. There is an API that provides data through a URL coding and can also be invoked inside user software packages. Output data formats now include ASCII, CSV, geoTiff, JSON and .netCDF. Since POWER’s launch of new geospatially-enabled data access capabilities in May 2018, there have been over 180,000 unique user IPs associated with over 78 million data requests. This presentation includes a brief demonstration of these capabilities. Lastly, we choose several user stories showing the potential usage and value of the data products. We feature results from a user in Toronto who used the data to determine that his ground based sensor had drifted, a user who discovered the importance of accounting for cloud coverage statistics in tropical Africa for battery storage and an illustration of photovoltaic array performance at NASA Langley research building using the RETScreen Expert clean energy software tool. The NASA POWER project web service platform provides solar and meteorological parameters in conveniently available formats that should be a resource to the renewable energy community.