Models and hierarchical methodologies for evaluating solar energy availability under different sky conditions toward enhancing concentrating solar collectors use: Texas as a case study
International Journal of Energy and Environmental Engineering
The precise estimation of solar radiation data is substantial in the long-term evaluation for the techno-economic performance of solar energy conversion systems (e.g., concentrated solar thermal collectors and photovoltaic plants) for each site around the world, particularly, direct normal irradiance which is utilized commonly in designing solar concentrated collectors. However, the lack of direct normal irradiance data comparing to global and diffuse horizontal irradiance data and the high
... ta and the high cost of measurement equipment represent significant challenges for exploiting and managing solar energy. Consequently, this study was performed to develop two hierarchical methodologies by using various models, empirical correlations and regression equations to estimate hourly solar irradiance data for various worldwide locations (using new correlation coefficients) and different sky conditions (using cloud cover range). Additionally, the preliminary assessment for the potential of solar energy in the selected region was carried out by developing a comprehensive analysis for the solar irradiance data and the clearness index to make a proper decision for the capability of utilizing solar energy technologies. A case study for the San Antonio region in Texas was selected to demonstrate the accuracy of the proposed methodologies for estimating hourly direct normal irradiance and monthly average hourly direct normal irradiance data at this region. The estimated data show a good accuracy comparing with measured solar data by using locally adjusted coefficients and different statistical indicators. Furthermore, the obtained results show that the selected region is unequivocally amenable to harnessing solar energy as the prime source of energy by utilizing concentrating and non-concentrating solar energy systems.