By Steven L. Horstmeyer(auth.)
Read or Download The Weather Almanac: A Reference Guide to Weather, Climate, and Related Issues in the United States and its Key Cities, Twelfth Edition PDF
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Additional resources for The Weather Almanac: A Reference Guide to Weather, Climate, and Related Issues in the United States and its Key Cities, Twelfth Edition
The NREL lists five categories of solar energy production: The goal of this chapter is to summarize the “wind power” climate and the “solar energy” climate of the 48 contiguous states and provide the user with data regarding the feasibility of both solar power energy generation and wind power energy generation. The material in this chapter could easily have been included in Chapter 1, but because of the specific nature of the information I have treated the wind and solar energy climates of the United States separately.
This is caused because the circular nature of the data and the discontinuity as due north is crossed. Both the prevailing wind direction and the resultant wind direction are less reliable as indicators for wind power as the variability of the wind increases. Prevailing wind may not be a majority wind in highly variable wind direction climates. Resultant wind is a measure of total air movement over a location, and because it is an average, it does not represent an actual wind. Because it is an average, the resultant wind may underrepresent the windiness of an area as winds from opposite directions cancel each other.
PV technology, typically solar panels, is what most people think of when discussing solar energy. It continues to be costly and marginally affordable, but it is expected to benefit from the economies of scale and the modular nature as mass production of solar panels lowers the cost. In even cloudy northern climates, solar radiation can be a source of electricity using PV technology. The potential for generating electricity is similar over wide geographic areas, being primarily dependent on latitude and cloud cover.