The Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) has just released its real-time hourly solar irradiation product with new research data available next month. Exemplary Energy engineer, David Ferrari, explains how this data can be applied to HVAC and building services.

Exemplary Energy is preparing to use this data stream which is derived through the Heliosat–4 radiation model using observations from the advanced imager on-board Japan’s Himawari geo-stationary satellite.

This data is bias-corrected based on comparisons conducted for the calendar year 2017 between the outputs of Heliosat–4 and BOM’s 12 ground stations to provide the most accurate publicly-available irraiance data with coverage of all locations across the country.

This new data stream allows Exemplary to expand the production of Real Time Year (RTY) data sets, comprising the weather data for the immediate past 12 months, to cover all Australian capital cities.

The RTY data for the eight locations is available for a range of purposes including research and simulations to help monitor HVAC system efficiency. Until now RTY data was only available for Brisbane, Canberra, Perth and Sydney.

The Exemplary team will also enhance the Exemplary Weather and Energy (EWE) index, a free service to industry which evaluates the impact of recent weather on building performance and solar PV output, comparing this with the long-term average and projected future weather in 2050 (see figure). The result of this analysis is published monthly.

The BOM has also announced that it will soon resume publishing solar gridded data which has been stuck at the end of July 2019 following the untimely death of their key staff member, Dr. Ian Grant, in November 2019.

BOM plans to make around five years’ worth of historical data based on the higher resolution of the Himawari satellite. Exemplary has long used solar gridded data for generating weather and climate data sets for around 250 Australian locations.

This solar gridded data will have a spatial resolution of 2 km at 10 minute intervals as well as in the pre-existing 5 km hourly format. The production and quality control processing of this data, which takes a sizable amount of supercomputing time, has just reached completion.

Exemplary will produce the weather and climate data for the 250 locations for 31 years from 1990 to 2020. This will include Reference Meteorological Years (RMYs, tailored to their application using three different weightings for the individual weather elements) along with four versions of eXtreme Meteorological Years (XMYs: P01, P10, P90 and P99).

This data will be generated in three formats: Australian Climate Data Bank (ACDB), Typical Meteorological Year 3 (TMY3) and the EnergyPlus Weather (EPW) formats.

This data along with Ersatz Future Meteorological Year (EFMY) data in the past has enabled many studies and policy updates. A key addition that is proposed for the data is the inclusion of hourly precipitation (mostly rainfall) data.

This will allow refinement of engineering and modelling such as urban hydrology, infrastructure design, HVAC condensers and on-site rainwater use.

It will also allow any extension of the NatHERS and other building performance simulation software to include precipitation for modelling of energy consumption and potential condensation problems.  

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