China Generates High-Resolution Solar Energy Potential Map

Chinese researchers have recently generated a high-resolution photovoltaic (PV) resources map of China, providing valuable insights into the country’s solar energy potential. The map reveals that western China has an annual mean effective irradiance exceeding 1,700 kWh/m2, with the highest values found in the Xizang Autonomous Region. On the other hand, eastern China has an annual effective irradiance ranging from 1,300 to 1,500 kWh/m2.

The researchers utilized data from the Advanced Geostationary Radiation Imager onboard the FY-4A satellite and employed machine learning techniques to assess solar resources. FY-4A is a new-generation Chinese geostationary meteorological satellite that accurately measures solar reflection and thermal emission with high temporal, spatial, and spectral resolutions.

The study was a collaborative effort between researchers from the Institute of Atmospheric Physics (IAP) under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the National Satellite Meteorological Center (NSMC), and the Harbin Institute of Technology. Published in the journal Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, the study highlighted the enhanced reliability of solar radiation product over China due to the wider field-of-view of the FY-4A satellite.

The researchers, led by Gao Ling from the NSMC and corresponding author Xia Xiang’ao from the IAP, aimed to go beyond conventional approaches and focus on effective irradiance, a critical factor in accurate solar resources assessment. This novel approach is expected to greatly benefit solar resources assessment and forecasting in China.

The high-resolution PV resources map will aid in identifying regions with the highest solar energy potential, assisting in the planning and development of solar energy projects across China. It will also provide valuable information for policymakers, investors, and researchers in the renewable energy sector to make informed decisions.