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Surface Meteorology and Solar Energy Project

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.

Solar Insolation
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. analysis.

Solar powered water pump - Courtesy NREL/DOE Photographic Information eXchange

Renewable energy usage, solar powered
water pump. Image courtesy NREL/DOE Photographic Information eXchange.
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NASA Official: Dr. Lin Chambers
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