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In the framework of the BEYOND, GEO-CRADLE and E-SHAPE projects, we introduced and applied as a pilot a novel Solar Energy Nowcasting System (SENSE), in order to coordinate, improve and support the regional Earth Observation (EO) infrastructures and capabilities, in Europe, North Africa and Middle East, related to ”access to energy”. The niche for this feasibility study is the operational, satellite-driven and real-time system for solar energy applications.
SENSE’s architecture background and strategy
SENSE is based on the synergy of Radiative Transfer Model (RTM) simulations, Machine Learning Computing Architectures (MLCA) and real-time atmospheric inputs from Earth Observation data sources (e.g. Copernicus and EUMETSAT). As a result, solar energy products and services were operationally produced in high spectral, spatial and temporal resolutions (1 nm, 0.05 x 0.05 degrees, 15 min). SENSE is including an online validation procedure in collaboration with the new National research infrastructure: PANhellenic infrastructure for Atmospheric Composition and climatE chAnge (PANACEA).
MAIN OBJECTIVES & OUTCOMES
SENSE was intended to be a starting point for energy related investments towards and beyond the implementation of GEO, GEOSS and Copernicus Energy activities and visioning innovative high-end applications and technologies with multifarious collaborations and carefully selected end-users. Towards this direction, the SENSE's objectives were: (i) the effective dissemination of the high precision and resolution nowcasting and forecasting solar energy services for the fulfillment of the regional needs taking advantage of the nowadays satellite data, efficient envision of new but crucial model inputs and state-of-the-art real time solar energy calculating system capabilities, (ii) development of reliable, high resolution solar Atlases and broader climatology studies for the RoI, and (iii) engraving strategy methods of how to integrate such a solar energy nowcasting system into a wider GEOSS driven system in the international scale.
RELATED SERVICES & PLATFORMS
Through the GEO-CRADLE’s and E-SHAPE’s networking platform, SENSE succeeded in stimulating the interest of relevant energy stakeholders, decision makers and solar energy investors from the public and private sector like the Egyptian Ministry of Electricity and Renewable Energy, the Greek Power Transmission and Distribution System Operator, the Attica Group and various scientific communities (research institutes, universities, health sector). The application fields of SENSE include the production planning support on large scale solar farm projects (photovoltaics and concentrated solar power plants) and the efficient control of the electricity balancing and distribution (in support to the TSOs and DSOs), by incorporating the produced energy of the solar farms into the electricity grid. At the same time, the surface solar radiation in different spectral regions highlight spectrally-weighted outputs like the UV-index, the Vitamin D efficiency and a number of agriculture and oceanographical related processes.
All the above SENSE’s implementations were transformed into EO-based SOLar Energy Applications (SOLEA) and will be submitted to GEOSS portal as open access services and databases. Through GEOSS portal, SOLEA aims to fulfill the regional needs for optimum solar energy exploitation and for active and effective integration of these technologies to the national sustainable development economies and strategies.
The forthcoming applications will include dynamic services with background databases for Europe, North Africa and Middle East, real-time and short-term forecast (3 hours ahead) products for energy (DNI and GHI in kWh/m2), health (UV-index and Vitamin D) and agriculture (PAR). As a result, SOLEA will enable mainly the solar industry to better plan clean energies, its transmission and distribution, which in turn will boost the relative contribution to national portfolios.