It integrates resource data and geographic information systems (GIS) — for integrated resource assessment. A variety of agencies within countries and global datasets provided country-specific data. For some countries, NREL has developed a HOMER Geospatial Toolkit version of the toolkit, which contains all of the features of the standard Geospatial Toolkit and also integrates HOMER, an optimization model for distributed power. For the most recent toolkits (Afghanistan, Bhutan, Northwest India, and Pakistan), NREL created versions of the Geospatial Toolkit with different data resolution. The “data lite” versions contain lower-resolution data so users can more quickly run exploratory queries; the “full data” versions contain the high-resolution data, which require more analytical processing time.
Funding for toolkits was provided by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), National Institute for Space Research (INPE), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Department of State (DOS), and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).
The Geospatial Toolkit, developed at the US National Renewable Energy Lab, enables exploration and simple analysis of renewable potential without expertise in GIS. It combines software (GIS capabilities) plus data (resource, land use, and infrastructure data) into a downloadable package that can be used on any Windows desktop. Toolkit functionalities include:
- Viewing solar and wind data and overlay roads, transmission lines, land use and elevation. A user can zoom in and out and move all around exploring the renewable energy opportunities for a country.
- Running queries that will calculate the land area meeting certain criteria, such as minimum resource values, proximity to infrastructure, and restricted land use and slope characteristics.
- Clicking on a location to use the underlying resource values to develop a HOMER file which can simulate systems that will meet the loads of pre-designed off-grid loads. These files can also be used in the full version of HOMER for more sophisticated users.
The new version uses open source software to increase user-friendliness and functionality. As of now, 3 countries are available with the new Geospatial Toolkit software: Bangladesh, Nepal and Turkey. All countries with Geospatial Toolkits will be migrated to this new platform in the coming months.
Key questions addressed:
- Where is there good potential for renewable energy projects?
Sample quantitative outputs:
- Annual average resource data
- Levelized cost of energy of technology options
Access the Geospatial Toolkit here.
Presentation: Exploring renewable energy opportunities using the Geospatial Toolkit, by NREL
Presentation: Geospatial Toolkit hands-on training, by NREL.
Region specific toolkits are available online.