The Surface Meteorology and Solar Energy (SSE) Project, managed by
NASA Langley, works with other government and private organizations
to develop the commercial potential of NASA satellite measurements.
The goal of the SSE Project & Program is to put state-of-the-art,
satellite-derived solar and meteorological data into the hands of
individuals who are involved in the research and analysis of the
feasibility of renewable energy technologies. SSE scientists convert
satellite-based estimates of incoming sunlight and meteorological data
at the Earth's surface into information useful to the renewable
energy community. They then post the information on the SSE Web site,
making the data free and available to the public. Users can create
resource maps of sunlight and weather-related parameters at a
specific location for any given month of the year.
Launched in 1997, the NASA
SSE Web site became the first to offer the
public a global data set of key parameters like the amount of
incoming sunlight and the meteorological variables such as temperature
and wind speed. For the second release of the data set in June 1999,
the Web site offered satellite data that the SSE group had translated
into formats that were readily usable by commercial companies. The
new format was a major breakthrough in the data set's usability for
engineers who design systems that convert natural energy into
electricity. Since then, the number of registered users of the Web
site, including major energy companies, financial institutions and
federal agencies, has grown to over 7,000 from nearly 100 countries.
Data from the SSE Project, for example, are essential to the global
application of RETScreen ®, a software tool developed by CANMET
Energy Diversification Research Laboratory for Natural Resources
Canada to help evaluate the viability of implementing
renewable energy technologies.
This false-color image shows the ten-year average (1983-1993) of solar
insolation, or rate of incoming sunlight at the Earth's surface, over the planet for
October. The colors correspond to values (kilowatt hours per square meter per day) based on
three-hourly data from Earth-observing satellites and NASA meteorological.
Renewable energy usage, solar powered
Image courtesy NREL/DOE Photographic Information eXchange.