QEERI Launches Qatar’s First Solar Atlas to Map Renewable Energy Potential
Solar Atlas aims to help accelerate and optimise the use of solar energy
Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute (QEERI), part of Hamad Bin Khalifa University, recently released the first Qatar Solar Atlas, a tool that quantifies the country’s solar resource and its geographical distribution as a first step toward accelerating the use of more solar energy across the country.
A culmination of research work conducted over the last five years by the QEERI Energy Center, Solar Atlas aims to support the development of progressive national policies on solar-based sustainable energy. It also aims to identify new profitable investments and markets to drive the creation of ‘green’ jobs and a technological innovation ecosystem.
In doing so, the Solar Atlas will contribute to Qatar National Vision 2030 and the goals and targets of the Global 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It will serve as an important tool for building a climate-resilient, prosperous and sustainable future where renewable energy has a significant penetration rate within the country’s energy mix, in a reliable, business-efficient manner.
Understanding solar energy
The comprehensive Solar Atlas includes a vast amount of accumulated data with high time and space resolutions, and sophisticated algorithms to process and convert them into a powerful tool for energy stakeholders in Qatar and beyond. Converting solar energy into a usable energy vector such as electricity requires a detailed and accurate estimation of the available resource to allow such conversion to be an economically viable industrial activity and the preferred choice in terms of electricity generation.
Dr Veronica Bermudez, Senior Research Director at the Energy Center, explained that an accurate understanding of regional solar energy characteristics improves decision-making, as well as the definition of targeted policies and investments. She said that Atlas presents the results of the solar resource assessment and mapping activities done at the Energy Center.
Dr Bermudez added that Qatar is blessed with abundant solar energy and the solar map is the first step toward optimising the use of these resources.
The Solar Atlas combines the use of models, machine learning algorithms, and data to explain the methodologies and outcomes of the solar resource and solar power potential assessment and forecasting. It documents the uncertainty of solar and meteorological data, which are key elements in the technical and financial evaluation of solar energy conversion systems and provides solutions to minimise financial and technological risks.
The other key objective is to improve the awareness and knowledge of resources for solar energy technologies by producing a comprehensive countrywide dataset and maps based on the highly accurate models developed by QEERI. The Atlas evaluates key solar climatic features and the geographic and time variability of solar power potential in the country, with solutions to solar and power production forecasting.
QEERI Executive Director Dr Marc Vermeersch said their motivation has always been to assist Qatar in tackling the grand challenges associated with energy and the environment.
Our Energy Center, with its expert pool of researchers, scientists and engineers has persevered to develop this Atlas. It is one of our tangible contributions to the sustainability initiatives of HBKU and Qatar Foundation.
Across its various centres and programmes, QEERI is consistently working towards supporting Qatar in addressing crucial questions related to energy, water and the environment.
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