Vaisala, an environmental and industrial measurement company, has officially announced the availability of a ready-to-install solar weather station that the company claims provides all of the instrumentation required by solar project developers, operators and their engineering teams for best-practice resource assessment and monitoring. The SP-12 Solar Weather Station, which has already been deployed at multiple locations across the U.S. and Canada, completes Vaisala’s platform of end-to-end solar project development, asset and portfolio management services.
“Vaisala offers a cost-competitive package for both the weather stations and tuning of satellite-derived irradiance data,” says Jeffrey Webber, development engineer at Cypress Creek Renewables, a U.S project developer and operator and an early adopter of the SP-12 Solar Weather Station. “The installation process for our first two units went very smoothly, the stations are user-friendly to maintain, and we’ve been quite happy with the quality of the data. So much so that we are looking to install another unit very soon.”
As the global solar sector matures and seeks to increase cost-competitiveness, Vaisala says developers, operators and an evolving investor base are placing growing scrutiny on energy uncertainty to appropriately manage project risk. For prospective and operational solar sites, adding reliable ground-based measurements to the long-term records provided by weather models is essential for making bankable production estimates and operational decisions that impact project revenue, the company adds.
“The key to achieving the ‘gold standard’ of bankable resource data lies in combining the long-term variability record provided by satellite models with the micro-climate context of the project site,” says Gwendalyn Bender, head of solar product development at Vaisala. “In practice, this means investing equally in both modeling ‘software’ and measurement ‘hardware’ – and that’s what Vaisala has done with the launch of SP-12.”
The SP-12 Solar Weather Station, available in multiple configurations, measures a range of environmental parameters that affect solar project performance. The station, mounted on a 2-meter tower and booms, combines Kipp & Zonen pyranometers with Vaisala’s WXT536 multi-weather sensor, capable of measuring wind speed and direction, ambient temperature, humidity, pressure and rainfall. An integrated thermistor assesses panel temperature for determining thermal losses. These measurements are collected and relayed by Vaisala’s Nomad 3 Data Logger, a device that provides real-time remote access to site data by means of Vaisala’s SkyServe Web platform, FTP and SCADA integration.