ISRO announced a Solar Calculator app that can accurately calculate all the benefits of installing solar panels in different parts of the country. If anyone wants to set up photovoltaic thermal power plants, the first step is to determine the solar energy potential of the place. After the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy put forth its request, the app was created by the Space Application Center facility (SAC) of ISRO in Ahmedabad. ISRO says that the use of remote sensing observations from geo-satellites is important to get the space-time variability of surface insolation. The app will be a highly useful tool for installation of PV solar panels in order to tap solar energy.
In the application, on can view the monthly or yearly solar potential (in kWh/m2) and minimum or maximum temperature at any place across India. The app also showcases the location on the satellite image and gives azimuth or elevation angles, and also day length over various time periods in a year. When you open the app, you will find several options and menus once you select a particular location on a map. You can also navigate through geographic coordinates. The app also gets the location using a GPS. The calculation of the potential of solar energy is done after the app sources its data from satellites like Kalpana-1, Insat-3D and Indat-3DR.
You need an internet connection if you wish to use the solar calculator app. It also shows various other types of data too. The app includes tables and visuals, about the duration of days all through the year. Using a digital elevation method, the app can also calculate if due to any causes the sun might get blocked. Notably, the app even suggests the users of the exact angle at which the panel should be set up in order to receive the maximum sunlight.
The data on the app is present in three forms: maps, tables and graphs. The ISRO Solar Calculator app is present on Android smartphones as well as for the web. The app looks quite similar to Google’s Project Sunroof. The solar calculator can be downloaded from the website vedas.sac.gov.in, as it is still not available on Google Play Store.
According to ISRO, the Solar Calculator app can complete the following tasks:
1. The App provides solar energy potential (in kWh/m2) at any given location
2. The required location can be keyed in or can be obtained through GPS
3. It gives monthly and yearly solar potential processed using Indian Geostationary Satellite data (Kalpana-1, INSAT-3D and INSAT-3DR). It also offers monthly minimum and maximum temperature to calculate realistic solar potential
4. Location is displayed on image with satellite data in the background
5. It also provides azimuth and elevation angles, and day length over different time periods in a year.
6. Obstruction of sunlight due to terrain is also calculated using Digital Elevation Model (DEM)
7. It also suggests optimum tilt angle for solar PV installation
8. This App needs internet connection to calculate the results
9. Complete report can be saved as a PDF file
10. The App can be downloaded from “New and Renewable Energy” section at vedas.sac.gov.in