US Weather Data Sources for Solar PV Installations

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US Weather Data Sources for Solar PV Installations

ASHRAE’s dataset cannot be accessed via an API; however, the data is available for purchase. The organization provides weather and climate data for over 8,000 locations with fundamentals, with tools and calculators for using data efficiently.

ASHRAE

  • With more than 57,000 members in more than 132 countries, ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers) is an American professional association seeking to advance heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration systems design and construction.

1. Weather Data Viewer

  • Weather data viewer service of the company is available in a DVD version, which enables users to view the frequency tables and joint frequency matrices for over 8,000 stations.
  • By using Microsoft Excel, users of the weather dataset can display the tables in numeric form or plot the frequency distribution, the cumulative distribution function, and the mean coincident functions.
  • Some key features available with the dataset include joint frequency matrices of dry-bulb temperature and time of day (also known as temperature bin data) and additional information, such as time zones of the stations and the months and years that were used for station design condition calculations.
  • The weather data viewer is available for purchase and provides calculators to implement various calculation methods mentioned in the Handbook of ASHRAE, which includes those for return period minimum/maximum temperatures, degree-days to any base, design day temperature, clear sky solar radiation, and load calculation data, as well as a bin data generator.

2. Climatic Design Information

  • A sample climate data of a station can be viewed here. It includes dry-bulb, wet-bulb, and dew-point temperatures; wind speed with direction at various frequencies of occurrence; monthly degree-days to various bases; precipitation; and parameters to calculate clear-sky irradiance.
  • The climatic design information also includes monthly and annual percentiles to provide seasonally representative combinations of temperature, humidity, and solar conditions.

National Solar Radiation Database (NSRDB)

  • NSRDB is a serially complete collection of hourly and half-hourly values of meteorological data and includes the three most common measurements of solar radiation global horizontal, direct normal, and diffuse horizontal irradiance.
  • The organization provides data for the United States and international locations, allowing users to see the amount of solar energy at a given time and to predict the potential future availability of solar energy based on past conditions for a particular location covered in the dataset.
  • NSRDB database includes temperature, wind speed, snow depth, pressure, humidity, wind direction, and wind speed; however, the database does not include frost depth and seismic design category.
  • There is no information exists about the pricing or subscription of NSRDB API; however, they have provided an example of the use of the API for automatic data download and also provides an example of using these data with the SAM Software Development Kit (SDK).
  • There is a contact form on the website, which asks for a name, email, and telephone number.
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Sources