3TIER by Vaisala
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Solar DNI GIS Data Layer

Solar DNI GIS Data Layer

Designed for: Engineer/Consultant, Developer & Government Agency
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Direct Normal Irradiance Data for GIS Software

Primary Uses

  • Utility-scale prospecting
  • Site assessment

With annual and monthly Solar DNI (Direct Normal Irradiance) GIS Data Layers, you have access to the most advanced global solar dataset ever created. Our scientifically derived data layers integrate spatial solar resource data directly into your own GIS mapping software for in-depth analysis, including site prospecting, sorting, and optimal selection.

Solar GIS Sample


By layering 3TIER Solar or Wind GIS Layers with each other you can get a complete sense of your resource potential. You can also use third-party layers, such as land ownership, population density, soil type, topography, and transmission and transportation infrastructure, to factor in many of the variables that affect the viability of a site. This enables you to identify promising locations more quickly, as well as understand potentially fatal flaws at a proposed site early in the prospecting process.


Derived from a consistent, global dataset, 3TIER’s Solar GIS Layers enable reliable point-to-point comparisons and a clear picture of the opportunities and risks for every potential solar thermal or tracking photovoltaic site in your portfolio. 3TIER was the first to create a high-resolution (approximately 3 km) dataset for solar resource information with global coverage. Our dataset is derived from over a decade of high resolution satellite imagery using proven techniques, state-of-the-art satellite processing algorithms, and publicly available observational data.

Technical Overview

Multiple Format Delivery Options

  • Arc ASCII Grid
  • CSV files
  • GeoTIFFs
  • KMZ files
    Solar GIS Sample

Technical Highlights

  • Global coverage
  • Spatial resolution of 2 arc minutes (approximately 3 km)
  • Based on over a decade of satellite data with continual updates
  • Validated and developed using widely recognized datasets worldwide


3TIER produced the first global solar irradiance map and time-series dataset at roughly three times the resolution of previous US solar datasets and at thirty times the resolution of global datasets available from NASA. Based on over a decade of satellite imagery and cutting-edge technology, our uniform methodology is supported by a large scientific and research community and results in a consistent map and dataset, enabling more accurate point-to-point comparisons.

The dataset is based on actual, half-hourly, high-resolution visible satellite imagery observations via the broadband visible wavelength channel at a 2 arc minute resolution. These data have been processed to hourly GHI, DNI, and DIF values. 3TIER processes the satellite images based on a combination of in-house research and algorithms published in peer- reviewed scientific literature. These algorithms contain parameters and coefficients that are based on empirical fits to observational data. The specific satellites and length of time varies slightly by region due to differences in the availability of data from region to region. See the chart below for more details.

Regions Satellites Temporal Coverage
Western Hemisphere GOES 8 - 13 15 years
(January 1997 - present)
South Asia & Middle East Meteosat 5, Meteosat 7 13 years
(January 1999 – last quarter)
East Asia & Oceania GMS 5, GOES 9, MTSAT 1-2 13 years
(December 1998 – present)
Europe & Africa Meteosat 7, Meteosat 9 15 years
(July 1998 – last quarter)

To develop and validate our model, 3TIER used observations from:

  • SurfRad
  • Baseline Surface Radiation Networks
  • National Solar Radiation Database
  • Bureau of Meteorology (Australia)
  • National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (New Zealand)
  • Indian Meteorology Department
  • NREL Annex II
  • Linke Turbidity Database from Ecole des Mines de Paris
  • National Snow and Ice Data Center (high-resolution snow dataset)
  • MODIS Aerosol Optical Depth and Water Vapor Datasets

Find our validation papers here.

If you are unfamiliar with the technical terminology on this page, please visit our Glossary for more information.

Geographic Availability

Available for All Regions
Product Available
Coming Soon

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