The Atlas consists of a web portal with informative information about the Atlas (which you are exploring now), and a mapping interface which allows the display and download of certain datasets.
The functions of the Atlas mapping interface include:
Basic mapping of data, including overlaying resource and administrative data layers
Graphing tools to compare datasets and assess trends, averages, peaks, and data quality
Ability to export data to conduct user’s own separate analyses
You are encouraged to explore the information and datasets on the Atlas. If you would like access to the graphing and downloading functions, and more detailed data, you are welcome to send a log-in request to obtain a user name and password. You can also contact us with questions or suggestions about specific datasets and consulting services offered.
For more help getting started, check out the:
Accessing the Atlas
You can access the geospatial Atlas by clicking the Launch the Atlas picture on the Home page or click on the Maps and Graphs menu item at the top of the page. There are two levels of access: public and registered.
- As a public user, you can see the location of solar and wind monitoring stations (see image, below left), and create maps of modeled data (see image, below right) which provides coverage for every point in the Kingdom.
- As a registered user, you can map monthly data from solar and wind monitors as well as download data and data summary reports. First, send a log-in request to obtain a user name and password. You will automatically receive a user name and password that will give you access to monthly data. Then click on the Login link. After you login, you will be able to map, graph, and download monthly data.
Making a Map
After entering the Atlas, a map with the monitoring stations appears. Layers can be added by clicking on the boxes in the layer tree tab.
To add a layer, first select a date range from the menu on the right. Next, select the desired layers. Then click the refresh symbol. (If you would like more options for the date range, request a log-in, or log-in, as referenced above.)
If you are logged in, the color of the monitor symbols will change to match the average data of the time period selected, such as September 2013. A background map layer can be selected to give a multi-year average. With the color monitors, you can see if the data from the selected time period is higher or lower than the multi-year average.
Other data layers can be added, such as major cities, the grid, roads, and protected areas.
The Legend tab explains the symbols and colors, depending what is selected. The Metadata tab describes the selected datasets and their sources.
Making a Graph
Graphing is only available to registered users, and can be started in two ways. First, you can click on a monitor location on the map. The popup information includes a button to Graph data from this station. Clicking that button takes you to the graphing function. Or, you can click on the "Graphs" icon on the left menu bar when you are in Maps and Graphs.
In the graphing screen, select the type of graph from the top tab (such as time series, scatter plot, or historical comparison). Then, select the desired parameters from the drop down menus starting from the top. Finally, click "Generate Graph," which will appear in a pop-up. From that graph, you can also see the data in table form or download the data.
Note that only data for which you have access will appear. For example, logged-in users who have NOT requested access to daily or hourly data from K.A.CARE will only be able to graph annual and monthly data.
Contacting K.A.CARE for Additional Support
Click on the Contact menu item for more information about how to contact the Renewable Resource Atlas Team.
Frequently Asked Questions
What data is available for free, and what data is available for purchase?
Monthly average values of solar and wind resource data from all stations are available for free to users who request an account. Time series of hourly and daily data are only available for purchase, through flexible Subscription or Download options. Advanced parameters, such as those from newly upgraded Tier 1 stations (dust, spectral data) are currently free for monthly values for users with a valid account.
Is the K.A.CARE solar resource data being quality assured?
- Yes, the stations are operated and maintained on a rigorous schedule, under the supervision of K.A.CARE, and in partnership with universities, technical colleges and institutes, and government agency partners. View additional Solar Resource Data Documentation here.
What data parameters are being collected at each solar station?
All solar monitoring stations collect data on Direct Normal Irradiance (DNI), Global Horizontal Irradiance (GHI), and Diffuse Horizontal Irradiance (DHI), plus air temperature, pressure, wind speed and direction, and relative humidity. Some solar monitoring stations also collect additional parameters, depending on the station tier. In the Data Options section, solar monitoring station data are available for download in .csv format. The location of solar and wind monitoring stations can also be downloaded in a .csv format or .kml (Google Earth) format.
Is historical solar resource data collected by KACST (King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology) included in the Atlas?
Yes, the Atlas incudes a subset of the highest quality solar resource data collected by the KACST network (for 1999-2002, 5 stations: Abha, Jazan, Qassim, Solar Village (now Al-Uyaynah Research Station), and Wadi Addawassir). This historical KACST data is available for graphing (see Make a Graph) using the Historical Comparisons tab.
What is the available period of record for the solar and wind resource datasets?
Solar: For the Renewable Resource Monitoring and Mapping (RRMM) Program over 50 solar resource monitors were installed from 2013 through 2015; data from these monitors are available from the installation date to within 1-2 weeks of today. The sample satellite-based modeled datasets (optional “Background” solar data on the map) represent over a decade of previously gathered data.
Wind: The initial wind monitoring mast at the K.A.CARE City Site outside of Riyadh was installed and began collecting data in October 2013. Additional wind monitoring stations will continue to be brought online until the end of 2015. All data are available from the installation date to within 1-2 weeks of today. The sample wind modeled dataset (optional “Background” wind data on the map) represents data from January 2000 to mid 2013.
What is the difference between the live solar resource data feed on the Atlas homepage and data in the Atlas mapping and graphing interface?
The live solar resource data feed (on the Atlas home page) shows graphs of data that have not been quality assured. These data provide a sense of current solar conditions, but are not incorporated into the mapping and graphing interfaces of the Atlas until they are reviewed for quality (within a few weeks of collection).
Is Typical Meteorological Year (TMY) data available on the Atlas?
Has the solar resource satellite-derived data (available as a map “background” for DNI and GHI, averaged for 1994-2012) been adapted to the recently collected RRMM solar monitor data?
No. However, K.A.CARE is taking steps towards integrating the RRMM solar monitor data with satellite-derived data in solar resource models, to provide a longer-term, higher quality representation of the solar resource.
Will the renewable resource data for Saudi Arabia be accessible through the International Renewable Energy Agency’s (IRENA) Global Atlas?