Solar power plants are dependent on weather updates. Cloud cover is essential in estimating the quantity of sunlight reaching the solar receivers. Though this weather data is necessary, it remains an estimate.
An excerpt from the Journal Renewable and Sustainable Energy says that cloud cover data is obtainable from satellites. The method for achieving this aspect is Spectral Cloud Optical Property Estimation also, SCOPE. Though the process is an estimate, it is the best and the only available choice.
NASA’s launch of satellites to appropriate SCOPE is commendable. Since 2016, NASA is utilizing its satellites to predict weather patterns. A recent move is a GOES-R series of satellites in stationary positions over the earth to observe the surface. Every one of these satellites is instrumental in imaging the planet as well as detecting radiation frequencies on earth.
The satellites investigate three cloud properties that are essential in determining the quantity of sunlight reaching the earth’s surface. One of the features is the cloud height. The other aspect is cloud thickness, which is the distance between the bottom and top of the cloud. The final variable is the optical cloud depth, which is also the intensity of sunlight obstruction.
Clouds are visible bundles of condensed water. The water absorbs sunlight in different ratios, therefore, affecting the optical cloud depth. The absorption rate of light by clouds depends on the wavelength of the sunlight. The frequency ranges with various wavelengths of sunlight.
The satellites approximate the three cloud properties using the SCOPE method. After this, other weather aspects are collectible from earth stations. These aspects are relative humidity and temperature change. These aspects are essential in the modification of the cloud cover model.
The comparison of this cloud cover data estimates and the actual sunlight at the solar power plant is laudable. The data proves to be instrumental in adjusting solar power equipment. It helps the plants plan. The plants can utilize the sunlight effectively and put countermeasures in the case of the winter season.
Solar power plants are thankful to NASA for providing essential information to advance renewable energy. The satellites are very useful because their use is not limited to the day. They are a 24hour system and thus a valuable partner for solar plants.
Finally, SCOPE is an essential method in cloud cover estimation. These estimates are vital for solar power plants to plan. These plants can modify their systems so that there is maximum solar energy generation. NASA satellites put into this use are great partners with the solar power industry. Their partnership is going to enhance the use of renewable energy and minimize emissions.