Public Release: 

New method for reporting solar data

American Institute of Physics

Washington, D.C. (January 11, 2011) -- A straightforward new way to calculate, compile, and graphically present solar radiation measurements in a format that is accessible to decision makers and the general public has been developed by researchers at the University of Texas at Austin.

The method presents solar data in a framework that "can be used by policymakers, businesses, and the public to understand the magnitude of solar resources in a given region, which might aid consumers in selecting solar technologies, or policymakers in designing solar policies," says David Wogan, a graduate student in mechanical engineering and public affairs at the University of Texas at Austin and the first author of a paper about the work in the American Institute of Physics' Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy.

Wogan's coauthors on the paper are Michael E. Webber, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering and the associate director of the Center for International Energy and Environmental Policy, and Alexandre K. da Silva, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering.

The method uses calculated estimates of solar insolation--the amount of solar radiation incident on the earth's surface--and the total energy in each of Texas's 254 counties, and presents the data in a geographic information system (GIS) format. Included in the model are daily, monthly, and yearly averages. This allows the method to be used, for example, to estimate the potential amount of solar-generated electricity that could be produced at a given location, in a given month.

In the paper, the researchers use Texas to illustrate the new method, "because its geography is very diverse," Wogan says, "but the framework is not limited to Texas and can be expanded to other states and countries to understand how renewable energy resources are distributed, both geographically and through time."

###

The article, "A framework and methodology for reporting geographically and temporally resolved solar data: A case study of Texas" by David M. Wogan, Michael Webber, and Alexandre K. da Silva appears in the Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy. See: http://link.aip.org/link/jrsebh/v2/i5/p053107/s1

Journalists may request a free PDF of this article by contacting jbardi@aip.org

JOURNAL OF RENEWABLE AND SUSTAINABLE ENERGY

Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy (JRSE) is an interdisciplinary, peer-reviewed journal published by the American Institute of Physics (AIP) that covers all areas of renewable and sustainable energy-related fields that apply to the physical science and engineering communities. As an electronic-only, Web-based journal with rapid publication time, JRSE is responsive to the many new developments expected in this field. The interdisciplinary approach of the publication ensures that the editors draw from researchers worldwide in a diverse range of fields. See: http://jrse.aip.org/

ABOUT AIP

The American Institute of Physics is a federation of 10 physical science societies representing more than 135,000 scientists, engineers, and educators and is one of the world's largest publishers of scientific information in the physical sciences. Offering partnership solutions for scientific societies and for similar organizations in science and engineering, AIP is a leader in the field of electronic publishing of scholarly journals. AIP publishes 12 journals (some of which are the most highly cited in their respective fields), two magazines, including its flagship publication Physics Today; and the AIP Conference Proceedings series. Its online publishing platform Scitation hosts nearly two million articles from more than 185 scholarly journals and other publications of 28 learned society publishers.

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.