Is the summer season losing potential for solar energy applications in South Africa?
Keywords:in situ data, sunshine duration, shortwave solar radiation, satellite data, climate trends, energy, CMSAF, SAWS
Seasonal trends using in situ sunshine duration (SD) and satellite, incoming shortwave solar radiation (SIS) data for South Africa over a period up to six decades were investigated. Trend analysis was applied to SD data of 22 sunshine-recording stations from the South African Weather Service that cover the length and breadth of South Africa. Satellite application facility on climate monitoring provided the high-resolution derived SIS for the period 1983–2013. A number of stations show a statistically significant decreasing trend in SD in all four seasons on a seasonal scale. Declines (number of stations showing significant trend) in SD at 17(7), 8(3), 7(3) and 3(0) stations, were observed for summer, autumn, winter and spring, respectively. The SIS has also shown a decreasing trend over South Africa in most of the regions during the summer season followed by autumn. The results indicated a general tendency of decrease in incoming solar radiation mostly during summer which could be of some concern for solar energy applications.
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