Paper presented to the 3rd Southern African Solar Energy Conference, South Africa, 11-13 May, 2015.
The roadmap of Reunion Island regarding energy is to reach autonomy by 2030. Obviously, renewable energies will play a key role in this ambitious project. However, a couple of years ago, a limit set by the French government relatively to the amount of lethal power injected on the electrical grid stopped the thrust: at any time, intermittent sources should not exceed 30 % of the whole production. This is due to the fragility of the grid: rugged topography, no interconnection.
The University of La Reunion through the LE2P lab (Energy, Electronic and Process) decided to search a solution by predicting the solar resource in order to erase part of the intermittency of the production coming from the solar plants. Along this track, the first step is to evaluate precisely the resource and study its spatio-temporal variability. To do so, the LE2P gets engaged in deploying, at ground level, a network of monitoring stations. These units should be capable to produce field data responding to specific requirements in terms of acquisition frequency and quality, compatible with the clustering tools and mapping programs developed beside.
Today, LE2P team manages a fleet of more than 15 stations, with various configurations, all over Reunion Island and plans to extend its network to neighboring territories.
This article proposes to present in details the different components of a typical station, how they have been selected and how they are maintained.
We will also see how the lab gets organized in order to propose top quality data to the solar scientific community.