UFH goes global with a ground based solar radiometric data measurement station in Alice

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The University of Fort Hare, through its Institute of Technology has now become part of the national SAURAN (www.sauran.net) family with the installation of a solar measurement system, housed on the roof of the Biochemistry Building.  After Graaff-Reinett and Nelson Mandela University, the station at Fort Hare is the third in the Eastern Cape. This South African Universities Radiometric Network (SAURAN) is an initiative of the Centre for Renewable and Sustainable Energy Studies (CRSES) at Stellenbosch University and the Group for Solar Energy Thermodynamics (GSET) at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.


SAURAN aims to make high-resolution, ground-based solar radiometric data available from stations located across the Southern African region, including South Africa, Namibia, Botswana and Reunion Island. Most of the stations provide direct normal irradiance (DNI), global horizontal irradiance (GHI) and diffuse horizontal irradiance (DHI) at 1-minute, hourly and daily time averaged intervals, using state of the art Kipp&Zonen radiometers. Measurement data may be downloaded free of charge and other measured parameters include wind speed and direction, ambient temperature and humidity, and rainfall.


This data will provide the basis for monitoring the conditions under which the solar modules, used in the building integrated photovoltaic systems of FHIT operate.  In addition, FHIT has recently been granted two Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) projects, which will see a more advanced solar measurement station be installed at the SolarWatt Park on the Alice campus.  This station will in addition to the parameters measured by the SAURAN system, also measure the actual content or spectral distribution of the sun as well as the Infrared radiation experienced by the solar modules and solar water heating systems.