The National Solar Radiation Database contains 30 years (1961-1990) of solar radiation and supplementary meteorological data, and hourly solar radiation and meteorological data for 237 National Weather Service sites in the United States, Guam, and Puerto Rico. Also includes maps of the monthly amounts of solar power that could be generated with various solar collectors.
Seven stations continuously collecting solar, infrared, meteorology, and ultraviolet radiation data are located in climatologically diverse regions of the U.S.—including Colorado, Illinois, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and South Dakota.
Local Analysis and Prediction System (LAPS) Solar Energy Forecast
December 28, 2012
The LAPS system produces rapidly updated, high-resolution analyses and forecasts of solar radiation. The cloud analysis uses satellite, METARs, radar, aircraft, and model first guess information to produce an hourly 3-D field of cloud fraction, cloud liquid, and cloud ice. The cloud analysis and satellite data together are used to produce a gridded analysis of total solar radiation.
Local Government Climate and Energy Strategy Series
December 27, 2012
The Local Government Climate and Energy Strategy Series, published by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, gives a straightforward overview of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction strategies that local governments can use to achieve economic, environmental, social, and human health benefits. The series covers energy efficiency, transportation, community planning and design, solid waste and materials management, and renewable energy.
Students investigate passive solar building design with a focus on heating. Insulation, window placement, thermal mass, surface colors, and site orientation are addressed in the background materials and design preparation. Students test their projects for thermal gains and losses during a simulated day and night then compare designs with other teams for suggestions for improvements.
Student teams design and build solar water heating devices that mimic those used in residences to capture energy in the form of solar radiation and convert it to thermal energy. In this activity, students gain a better understanding of the three different types of heat transfer, each of which plays a role in the solar water heater design. Once the model devices are constructed, students perform efficiency calculations and compare designs.