Chinese researchers have recently generated a high-resolution photovoltaic (PV) resources map of China, providing valuable insights into the country’s solar energy potential. This new map reveals that in western China, the annual mean effective irradiance exceeds 1,700 kWh/m2, with the highest value found in the Xizang Autonomous Region. In contrast, eastern China has an annual effective irradiance of 1,300 to 1,500 kWh/m2.
The researchers utilized data from the Advanced Geostationary Radiation Imager onboard the FY-4A satellite, along with machine learning techniques, to make advancements in solar resources assessment. The FY-4A satellite, which became operational in 2017, is a new-generation Chinese geostationary meteorological satellite. It measures solar reflection and thermal emission with high temporal, spatial, and spectral resolutions.
This 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. The findings were recently published in the journal Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews.
Gao Ling, a researcher from the NSMC, highlighted that the wider field-of-view of the FY-4A satellite has improved the reliability of the current solar radiation product over China. Xia Xiang’ao, the corresponding author from the IAP, mentioned that their work goes beyond conventional approaches by extending to effective irradiance, which is a crucial factor in precise solar resources assessment.
The researchers believe that this study will greatly benefit solar resources assessment and forecasting in China. By providing accurate information about solar energy potential in different regions of the country, this high-resolution PV resources map will assist in the development and planning of solar energy projects.