SAURAN : a new resource for solar radiometric data in Southern Africa
CITATION: Brooks, M. J. et al. 2015. SAURAN : a new resource for solar radiometric data in Southern Africa. Journal of Energy in Southern Africa, 26(1):2-10.
The original publication is available at http://www.scielo.org.za
A new resource for sun strength data in Southern Africa has been established with the commissioning of a regional network of solar monitoring stations. The Southern African Universities Radiometric Network (SAURAN) is an initiative of Stellenbosch University and the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), and consists of an initial set of ten ground stations equipped with secondary standard thermopile radiometers. SAURAN's aim is to provide a long-term record of sun strength in a region that shows excellent potential for the deployment of solar energy technologies. Instruments measuring direct normal irradiance (DNI), diffuse horizontal irradiance (DHI) and global horizontal irradiance (GHI) feed time-averaged data over 1-minute, hourly and daily intervals to a central archive from where they are accessible to the public via a website interface. Meteorological data is also provided by most of the stations. This paper gives a brief background to the SAURAN project and describes the network's operation, coverage and future expansion. Examples of solar energy irradiance plots are also provided to illustrate the information available from the SAURAN database.