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Use of atmospheric remote sensing for solar energy purposes: Experiences made in the ENVISOLAR project

Marion Schroedter-Homscheidt(1), Detlev Heinemann(2) and Lucien Wald(3)

(1) Deutsches Zentrum für Luft-und Raumfahrt (DLR), Oberpfaffenhofen, 82234 Wessling, Germany
(2) Universität Oldenburg, Carl-von-Ossietzky-Strasse 9-11, 26219 Oldenburg, Germany
(3) Ecole des Mines de Paris, BP 207, 06904 Sophia Antipolis cedex , France


Within the Earth Observation Market and Development programme at the European Space Agency, the ENVISOLAR project aims at an intensified use of Earth Observation-based information products in the solar energy industries. Existing services for investment decision, plant management, load forecasting and for science and consulting rely on high quality surface solar irradiance measurements and credible processing chains to deliver such information regularly.

Within the scope of the project Heliosat-3 (contracted within the 5th Framework Programme of the European Union), the usage of atmospheric remote sensing technologies based on the Meteosat Second Generation and the ENVISAT satellites has been evaluated.

Up to now, based almost exclusively on the visible among the 3 available Meteosat channels, cloudiness as input for surface solar irradiance calculations has been retrieved as a mixture of cloud amount and cloud opacity. Turbidity information has been taken from climatologies mainly. The Meteosat-8 SEVIRI, with its 12 spectral channels, allows not only a much more precise characterisation of clouds, but also retrieval of atmospheric water vapour, ozone and, partly, aerosols. The measurement of aerosols is completed by exploitation of the ENVISAT instruments AATSR and SCIAMACHY. Knowledge of these components allows considering use of fast radiative transfer parameterisations for solar irradiance estimates.

The ENVISOLAR consortium has identified a list of blockages that prevent the increased use of Earth Observation techniques up to now. The paper will describe how the Heliosat-3 and ENVISOLAR projects contribute to solving some of the identified blockages.


Workshop presentation

Keywords: ESA European Space Agency - Agence spatiale europeenne, observation de la terre, earth observation, satellite remote sensing, teledetection, geophysique, altimetrie, radar, chimique atmospherique, geophysics, altimetry, radar, atmospheric chemistry