Across the globe, solar energy installations have taken off in the past decade – both at the home and utility-scale levels. Current statistics show that photovoltaic production has reached over 1% of all global energy and is projected to grow exponentially, with China leading the pack in terms of installed capacity. The rest of the world is not far behind though with the United States, German and Japan in hot pursuit. While it’s typically touted as a renewable, environmentally-friendly resource, solar energy is also becoming increasingly cost-effective as an alternative to traditional energy sources and, is improving in reliability annually. These traits have made it a go-to solution in many developing nations that lack adequate power transmission infrastructure, like Honduras.
Photovoltaic energy production has proven a difficult science to master, but at AerisWeather, we are helping renewable energy providers to minimize the gaps in harnessing energy from the sun. Contrary to what many green energy hobbyists might think, solar panels can have reduced output due to extreme heat, minimizing the electric current that can pass through their cells. Humidity is also a factor that can degrade components more quickly. Wind, on the other hand, can actually increase efficiency by cooling the panels, making consistent sunny weather with greater wind speeds an ideal environment.
Harnessing localized historical & current weather observations along with extended forecasts opens opportunities for solar utility professionals to improve both their operations and capital planning. Feeding our precise historical weather data into machine learning and AI tools can help maximize maintenance staffing and schedules, better predict panel replacement costs, and even prevent catastrophic damage by having adequate notice of weather events that could result in photovoltaic panel damage.
A key use case for analyzing years of observational data is the ability to model & visualize environmental conditions in an effort to properly locate and define expectations for new energy fields. From small startups to global power producers, installers & financiers can improve their ROI per panel by determining which locations are going to have the right mix of heat energy degradation vs. solar radiation. Add in other ambient conditions to your models such as wind and humidity and there’s every opportunity to make sound siting choices.
Humidity not only causes panel degradation, it can also cause lower efficiency as condensation and water vapor collect on the glass and reflect or refract solar radiation across their surface area. This phenomenon can reduce efficiency across geographies for solar utilities in tropical climates where high humidity is common. On the other end of the spectrum, snowfall is a known issue when build-up occurs. Experienced operators have leveraged observational data & imagery to inform their crews in the field when conditions are detrimental to energy output.
There’s not a solar installation in the world that’s not exposed in some fashion to the effects of severe weather. Solar operators have every incentive to monitor severe weather and minimize risk to both crews in the field and assets in the path of a storm. AerisWeather’s advanced weather API provides current observations, forecasts, and severe weather alerts. When combined with our industry-leading graphics tools (see https://demos.aerisweather.com/map-app/facilities/), energy producers will be able to lend real-time weather animation to the conditions in the field, keeping crews safe & assets monitored.
By definition, each renewable energy installation is directly affected by the local environmental conditions at that site. Join the world’s energy leading companies in integrating AerisWeather’s data & imagery to maximize solar energy production.
Interested in learning more? Reach out to a member of our team!