Table of Contents
ISRN Renewable Energy
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 203149, 13 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.5402/2012/203149
Research Article

Solar Potential in the Himalayan Landscape

1Energy & Wetlands Research Group, Center for Ecological Sciences (CES), Indian Institute of Science, Karnataka, Bangalore 560012, India
2Centre for Sustainable Technologies (ASTRA), Indian Institute of Science, Karnataka, Bangalore 560012, India
3Centre for Infrastructure, Sustainable Transportation and Urban Planning (CiSTUP), Indian Institute of Science, Karnataka, Bangalore 560012, India

Received 11 October 2011; Accepted 2 November 2011

Academic Editors: J. Kaldellis, M. Muselli, and A. Parretta

Copyright © 2012 T. V. Ramachandra et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Estimation of solar energy reaching the earth’s surface is essential for solar potential assessment. Solar radiation data based on satellites provide higher spatial and temporal coverage of regions compared to surface based measurements. Solar potential of the Indian hill state of Himachal Pradesh has been assessed using reliable satellite based global horizontal insolation (GHI) datasets validated based on its complex terrain. Solar maps representing regional and temporal resource availability in the state have been generated using geographical information systems (GIS). Spatial analyses show that the state receives annual average GHI above 4.5 kWh/m2/day and a total of 99530395 million kWh (or million units, MU). The regional availability of GHI in Himachal Pradesh is influenced by its eclectic topography, seasons as well as microclimate. The lower and middle elevation zone (<3500 m) with tropical to wet-temperate climate receives higher GHI (>5 kWh/m2/day) for a major part of the year compared to the higher elevation zone (>3500 m) with dry-temperate to alpine climate (4–4.5 kWh/m2/day). Results show that Himachal Pradesh receives an average insolation of 5.86 ± 1.02–5.99 ± 0.91 kWh/m2/day in the warm summer months; 5.69 ± 0.65–5.89 ± 0.65 kWh/m2/day in the wet monsoon months; 3.73 ± 0.91–3.94 ± 0.78 kWh/m2/day in the colder winter months.