The information on solar energy have been obtained from NASA Langley Research Center Atmospheric Science Data Center. It is based on average solar insolation conditions taken from satellite measurements taken over a twenty-two year period between July 1983 and June 2005. The measurements are taken at approximately 40 mile intervals across the entire surface of the Earth.
In some countries and regions, there are more accurate databases available that use ground measuring data rather than satellite-based data. These are typically based on a much higher density of readings. However, these databases are not universally available. Ground measurements, where they exist, can also take into account micro-climate conditions created by hills, valleys and surface conditions. These are not taken into account with these satellite measurements.
Despite these limitations, the NASA dataset has the benefit of covering the entire globe and is based over a longer time period than most other tests. It also measures insolation figures both at the top of the atmosphere and at ground levels, which allow for greater depth of analysis, allowing additional climatic variation to be taken into account, which in itself allows the data to be fine tuned.
Unlike most other online databases, our system uses additional climate data, such as average air and ground temperatures, which allows the real-world performance of the solar panels to be analysed, thereby providing greater accuracy of information.
Consequently, this core data is widely regarded as being good enough for providing a relatively accurate indication of likely performance of small scale solar energy systems. However, it does not replace a full site survey as site-specific issues such as shading are not taken into account.
Satellite-based data cannot be as accurate as a ground based solar analysis. Whilst these are rarely cost effective for most small-scale installations, a full ground based solar analysis, whereby real world solar insolation data is collected over a long period of time, is strongly recommended for larger installations, such as a solar farm.
The solar performance estimator takes the average solar insolation and calculates the efficiency for the solar panel/solar array selected. This is calculated by assessing the total amount of insolation available, along with average temperatures at your location and using this information to work back to the likely power generation available for the solar array size. There are a number of assumptions that have been made in order to provide these figures:
The 'Example Solar Array' pull down list is based on a cross-section of different solar panels and configurations using information supplied by the manufacturers. For example, to provide the information on a 2kW solar array, specification sheets for three different solar panels were evaluated and the average data for all three were used to provide the data for the example turbine. Consequently, the power curve shown in the power generation chart will vary slightly from specific manufacturer derived figures.
There are various reasons why the power curve will vary between solar panels from different manufacturers:
All renewable energy systems are site specific and only general information can be provided using online resources alone. The calculator is designed to provide an indication of the likely performance of a renewable energy system that has been installed in an optimal location by professionals. This calculator is not a substitute for a full site survey and can only be used as a rough indicator to the performance for a specific wind turbine.
The calculations also only take into account average solar insolation - there is no analysis of the peaks and troughs.
The content of these calculators are for your general information and use only. Neither we or any third parties provide any warranty or guarantee as to the accuracy, performance, completeness or suitability of the information found or offered on this calculator for any particular purpose. You acknowledge that such information may contain inaccuracies or errors and we expressly exclude liability for any such inaccuracies or errors to the fullest extent permitted by law.
Your use of any information or materials on this website is entirely at your own risk, for which we shall not be liable. It shall be your own responsibility to ensure that any the information provided with this calculator meets your specific requirements.