Solar Resources

Home > RESOURCES > Web-based Resources > Energy Resources > Solar Photovoltaics Resources

Solar Insolation Data

NASA Surface meteorology and Solar Energy (SSE) data set – The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) of the United States provides global data on solar insolation based on satellite measurements. Once free registration is completed, the data may be retrieved through an on-line interface by entering a latitude and longitude, or by clicking on the desired location on a global map. This dataset is coordinated for use with two PV design tools, RETScreen International and SolarSizer (see descriptions under PV Design Tools).

SSE Home Page:

SolarSizer Data Access (Login / Registration page):

RETScreen International data access (Login / Registration page):

World Radiation Data Centre
The WRDC data set contains solar radiation data from over 1,000 ground measurement sites in 127 countries around the world during the period from 1964-1993. The data can be searched on the WRDC web site, although the interface is somewhat difficult to use. The data can be retrieved through a more user-friendly interface at the NASA SSE web site (described above) by clicking on the “Ground Site” link from the SSE home page.

PV Design Tools

Hybrid Optimization Model for Electric Renewables (HOMER)

RETScreen International
The RETScreen International Renewable Energy Project Analysis Software is a unique decision support tool developed with the contribution of numerous experts from government, industry, and academia. The RETScreen International Photovoltaic Project Model (Version 2000) can be used world-wide to easily evaluate the energy production, life-cycle costs and greenhouse gas emissions reduction for three basic PV applications: on-grid; off-grid; and water pumping. For on-grid applications the model can be used to evaluate both central-grid and isolated-grid PV systems. For off-grid applications the model can be used to evaluate both stand-alone (PV-battery) and hybrid (PV-battery-genset) systems. For water pumping applications the model can be used to evaluate PV-pump systems. The web site, managed by Canada’s CANMET Energy Technology Center - Varennes, is published in French and English. The software is provided free of charge by the Government of Canada and may be downloaded from the web site in English (1.34 MB) or French (1.4 MB) versions.

SolarSizer TM is a professional tool for designing and sizing photovoltaic systems. It uses a graphic interface to simplify the process of choosing components and making cost and energy calculations. A demonstration version of SolarSizer 1.6 is available as a free download (4.7 MB). This version of the software includes all the functionality of the full SolarSizer except for the saving and printing abilities. Solar Sizer 1.6 incorporates the NASA Global Satellite Solar DataSet.

World-wide Information System for Renewable Energy (WIRE)
An initiative of the International Solar Energy Society (ISES). A multifaceted web-based resource with strong focus on solar energy. Includes modules on buildings, components, conferences, white papers, research papers, and a number of information exhange and discussion forums.

Online Training Courses

1. Solar Energy International (SEI) online courses

2. Solar On-Line