1. Description of Work (2011)

The service is entitled "generation of local atlases for decision-support in solar energy policy planning and private investment".

Involved partners and contacts:

  • Partner in charge of the development of the product: ARMINES - Philippe Blanc (philippe.blanc(-at-)mines-paristech.fr)
  • Partner in charge of the development of the service: TRANSVALOR - Laurent Saboret (laurent.saboret(-at-)transvalor.com), Etienne Wey (etienne.wey(-at-)transvalor.com) and Claire Thomas (claire.thomas(-at-)transvalor.com).

Prime Users:

  • CG06: General Council of the Alpes-Maritimes (one of the six departments of the territorial region PACA)
  • ADEME: Regional entity of the French Environment and Energy Management Agency (ADEME-PACA)=local authority


Expectations of the prime-users: Users do not know with enough accuracy the potential of solar energy in their area of interest. They also need to relate this information to other types of geographical information, e.g., physical and administrative, possibly within a computer-aided method for decision making, or a GIS, or for due diligences for banks.

The information should be recent, of known quality and uncertainty, spanning over several years and easily accessible. In other words, users need a reference tool for studies for sitting, sizing and return-on-investment on solar plants, and local policies for energy planning and attraction of investors.

Objectives of the service: The service will generate local atlases. An atlas comprises the detailed databases on a hourly basis as well as synthetic maps, e.g., monthly and annual mean values. Depending on users requirements to be developed in the project, the atlas may comprise meteorological data (surface solar irradiance, air surface temperature) as well as other information of other nature, such as physical, (orography, hydrography), administrative (cities, districts, protected areas, hazards…), or policies (regulation, incentives rules, plans).

Area of Interest: the PACA region, south East of France


Exploited GMES downstream services:

  • MACC product: HelioClim3 database
  • About 30 Meteofrance ground stations
  • SRTM (not GMES) => can be replaced by the GMES TerraSAR dataset
  • Globcover

State of the art: There are few examples of atlases at national scale, such as Australia, the United States of America, Canada or other countries in South America, Africa or Asia under the umbrella of the SWERA project of the UNEP. In Europe, the existing atlases, such as the European Solar Radiation Atlas of the European Commission, or the Photovoltaic Geographical Information System (PV-GIS) of the Joint Research Center, are a series of maps at scale of order 1/3 000 000.

Innovation: There is no such atlas presently available suitable for the local level, i.e. at 1/250 000 scale. Main innovations can be listed as follows:

  • The first innovation deals with the refinement in scale which will be suitable for local decisions. Most of the tools available are maps of solar irradiance.
  • The second innovation is to combine irradiance and other meteorological data with data of various natures that intervene in decision-making process.
  • The third innovation is to allow the user to get the necessary data in one request and not multiple as currently.
  • The last two innovations are major differences with respect to the static atlas of the radiation available at ground level for photovoltaic and thermodynamical systems on Provence to ADEME PACA and Conseil Général 06 being provided by Armines. Another large difference is that ENDORSE will develop replicable and scientifically-validated methods for creation of such atlases. In this respect, the current atlas can be seen as a first step towards more-founded methods and as a precursor of the proposed service.

Overall, such an integrated tool will allow users and stakeholders to query, view access and exchange the relevant information in the field. Standardisation of the process and the definition of a modular content will ensure replicability of the service.