TDC Solar Observatory and Meteorological Instrumentation
With the installation of a solar observatory and meteorological instrument package on the TDC roof in March 2012, the TDC became the first Pacific Northwest data collection node for the University of California Solar Power Forecasting Initiative (SPFI). The primary data currently being collected from the TDC solar observatory and meteorological instrumentation include Direct Normal Irradiance (or DNI, which measures the intensity of light coming directly from the sun), Diffuse Horizontal Irradiance (or DHI, the light coming indirectly from the sun via scattering from the atmosphere itself, e.g. clouds), wind speed, temperature, and barometric pressure. The live streaming data can be viewed here: http://coimbra.ucsd.edu/observatory.php?loc=bellingham.
These data will be used to develop solar and wind power forecasting models for our region. Of particular interest for the local climate, the system can be adapted to predict the correlations (or anti-correlations) between the overall solar irradiance and the wind speed, which, in conjunction with electronic control systems can shift and balance the output power from solar and wind sources in order to maintain a more stable (as well as predictable) renewable energy output.