SWERA & the Green Power of the Internet

Ian Somerhalder Foundation

Going green in any aspect of our lives within our homes or society is easier than ever before. Making an educated decision to adopt a greener lifestyle, to transform into a greener society, is even easier than you may think. We’ve talked about the little things we can all do at home: recycling, turning lights off when you’re not using them, and not wasting water while brushing you’re teeth. Now we’re looking at the resources available to the policy makers, project planners, and investors of the world and how our fellow citizens with bigger budgets can make a difference with the Internet…

Making the switch to renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power is easy to talk about, but what tools can a person use to make more educated decisions about it? Thanks to a collaborative project involving more than 25 partners from around the world, we now have the free resource known as SWERA: the Solar and Wind Energy Resource Assessment.

The SWERA initiative began in 2001 bringing together solar and wind energy resource data and analysis tools, provided by many participating international organizations, and making them available in a dynamic user-based environment. SWERA was created in order to advance the large-scale use of renewable energy technologies by increasing the availability of solar and wind information. All the information is free to the public and meant to support the work of our project planners, analysts, policy makers, investors… anyone who has the need to make a positive change.

SWERA provides users with access information such as (but not limited to) data sets and maps of wind patterns, solar tilts, flat plate solar collectors (tilted and horizontal), diffuse radiation data, typical meteorological years, climatology charts, and surface meteorology and solar energy data (SSE). This resource also provides analytical tools, like geospatial toolkits, to help utilize the knowledge needed to support decision making during small and large project planning, feasibility assessments, policymaking, and designing processes.

SWERA is supported and funded by renowned associations and organizations including: Global Environment Facility (GEF), United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) Division of Technology, Industry and Economics (DTIE) in collaboration with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the German Aerospace Centre (DLR), Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research, the State University of New York, and NASA, just to name a few. From the success of the original 13 pilot countries, SWERA has expanded into a full-fledged program used by many countries and regions to educate and facilitate renewable energy projects, policies, and investments around the globe.

I think it’s safe to say that SWERA is a powerful resource that is worth spreading the word about. Explore SWERA and share it with your community; inspire the change towards using renewable energy!


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- Written by Ines de S.