ISRO presents the SPACE usage for solar technology

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ISRO (Indian Space Research and Observatory) is advancing year by year. From ‘Chandrayan’ to ‘Mars mission’ and launching multiple satellites in one go, it has become one of the premier space institutions in the world. Now, with India making inroads into renewable energy development and initiating International Solar alliance, ISRO is contributing its part.

A presentation from SAC (Space Application center) of ISRO was made during the recent seventh ISA get together and stakeholders meeting held in New Delhi on November 15, 2017. The presentation addresses the utilization of space technology for solar energy, pointing out that there is an interaction between solar irradiation and atmosphere. The space agency explained the Lubos Matejicek satellite-based irradiance models, which are characterized as clear sky model and cloud model. Accordingly, the parameters and variables are evaluated.

During the presentation, ISRO showed the map of India with its solar radiation resource assessment stations. India has around 121 SSRA stations in different phases. These come under VEDAS (Visualisation of Earth Observation Data and Archival System). This data center collects all kinds of data of solar radiation through its stations. It presents the Solar Atlas.

The space center also discusses the methodology for collecting such data. KIRAN (Kalpana – 1 incident solar radiation) is a spectral irradiance model, which collects data through clear-sky transmission and three-layer cloudy sky model. The Indian Geostationary satellites Kalpana 1, INSAT 3A, INSAT 3D and INSAT 3DR, make multiple acquisitions per day from radiometer or imager over a continent. They also continuously monitor solar radiation and other variables and factors like fog, water vapor, dust, aerosol, etc.

VEDAS provides the monthly global horizontal insolation and annual solar insolation. And, the Android solar calculator helps in deriving different results, for example, capacity utilization factor, direct normal radiation, diffused horizontal irradiance, etc.

Rooftop potential calculation for smart cities

The inference of potential for rooftop PV in cities was made with these data visualization, collection and analysis. According to the investigation, the total built-up area of 98 cities that are planned to be made smart is 6360.92 sq. km, and out of the entire roof area of 1590.24 sq. km the total suitable roof area is 397.56 sq. km and the total expected solar energy output on suitable roof area is 103,510.29 GWh/annum. Thus, the available peak power generation potential is 31 GW.  This is a vast potential for solar power in planned 98 smart cities.

ISRO discussed the solar energy potential of Ahmedabad city as a demonstration. This was done with the help of the interactive solar site suitability analysis app, and the calculations were made with the solar calculator; these tools are all part of VEDAS. In addition, Carosat – 1 stereo pair is used to analyze a 3D model of Ahmedabad. Simple and smart technologies are being applied to analyze data.

In the end, ISRO has concluded that VEDAS has prepared digital atlases for solar energy potential. It has executed the license agreement with industry (Adani) and has signed a MoU between NITI Ayog (National Institute for transforming India), NIWE (National Institute for Wind Energy) and NISE (National Institute for Solar Energy). Moreover, the space center has developed an Android app for assessing solar potential, and is validating a methodology for 15 minutes solar forecast. The solar potential for 98 smart cities and 60 solar cities is estimated.

According to ISRO, the data science is the way forward for development and advancement. ISRO an advance institution is implementing these tools for solar potential which would undoubtedly help India, for its execution of Renewable energy targets.