In 1993, the University of Malta’s Institute for Sustainable Energy (ISE) started using Kipp & Zonen solar pyranometers for observing solar radiation on the Island, thus creating a continuous record for nearly three decades.
Eur Ing. Dr. Charles Yousif initiated a data monitoring campaign that has since expanded and now utilizes even more Kipp & Zonen instruments.
As well as monitoring global and diffuse solar radiation (with a shadow ring) on the horizontal, the ISE received funding through the University of Malta’s research funds for the acquisition of pyranometers for measuring inclined solar radiation (45° being the best angle for thermal solar energy applications and 36° being the latitude of Malta).
Image Credit: OTT HydroMet
In recent years, the institute has added two radiometers to its facilities to monitor UVA, UVB and Erythermal (UVE) radiation on site. A SOLYS2 GPS tracking system and pyrheliometer were also purchased due to co-financing from the Renewable Energy Scenarios in Islands (R.E.S.I.) project of the Italia-Malta 2007-2013 cross-border funds of the EU.
For a number of years, the ISE has been the only institute in Malta monitoring global solar radiation on a prolonged basis. It is now the only facility collecting actual data on UV radiation and direct normal radiation.
The performance of the pyranometers has always been up to standard. In the beginning, the instruments were able to work continuously, persisting through the strong solar radiation of Malta which had caused deterioration in the protective cable sheathing.
Nowadays, all cables are passed through flexible conduits to prevent such deterioration, although this is not required with the current yellow cable.
The data collected has been applied in a wide range of scenarios and applications, including general solar and UV radiation monitoring studies, as well as individual cases for building design and the impact of UV radiation on health.
Most recently, the data has been employed in the weather file for Malta in the national energy performance rating software for non-dwellings (iSBEM-mt).
Re-calibration of instruments is extremely important for high-quality database collection.
The complete solar and meteorological monitoring station on the roof of the Institute for Sustainable Energy. Image Credit: OTT HydroMet
Kipp & Zonen offers a positive service experience. The ISE’s intention is to support its newly acquired weather station (co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund, ERDF, under Operational Programme 1, 2007-2013 – Priority Axis 4 Project Ref. No. 335) with solar energy data in order to become an all-inclusive center for weather data on the Island of Malta.
The project was focused on preparing a typical meteorological year (TMY) for Malta, which was still lacking. It has been noted that current international software that necessitates the input of weather databases consistently uses simulated data or data generated from nearby stations to shape the weather file for Malta.
In numerous cases, this approach is not accurate enough because the climate is specific to the Island and differs from other nearby stations located on the Island of Sicily (Italy) or other nearby regions, such as the coastal areas of Libya or Tunisia.
Discover more about the Institute for Sustainable Energy at: www.um.edu.mt/ise
The SOLYS2 with CHP1 pyrheliometer on the roof of the Institute for Sustainable Energy. Image Credit: OTT HydroMet
This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by OTT HydroMet.
For more information on this source, please visit OTT HydroMet - Meteorology.