3TIER® today announced that its FirstLook® Prospecting tool has more than 25,000 registered users who regularly access the Web site for wind and solar energy resource information. The free, online tool provides basic wind and solar resource data with dynamic, clickable high-resolution resource maps.
“The fact that FirstLook has attracted such a large and loyal user base is a testament to the continued growth and interest in renewable energy,” said Kenneth Westrick, founder and CEO of 3TIER, the global leader in Renewable Energy Information ServicesSM. “From the largest wind farm developers in the world to homeowners considering installing solar panels on their roofs, FirstLook is simply the easiest, most accurate, and most powerful tool out there for early-stage renewable energy prospecting and basic assessment information.”
FirstLook offers registered users scientifically derived data on the value of wind resources anywhere on the globe, and solar resources anywhere in the Western Hemisphere. To navigate the wind and solar resource maps and find out more about FirstLook visit http://firstlook.3tier.com.
FirstLook was launched in 2007 to address the biggest barrier to global renewable energy adoption – the lack of information, according to Westrick. “The response has been tremendous. A large percentage of our users visit the site on a daily basis, and the number of people that go on to purchase more in-depth FirstLook Assessment reports has surpassed our expectations.”
FirstLook saves developers vital time in prospecting for viable sites for utility-scale renewable energy development, and accelerates the process of determining where more in-depth resource assessments should be conducted. However, because FirstLook democratizes that information, landowners also can determine the value of their resources. Landowners represent a significant portion of FirstLook’s user base; they regularly use it to approach renewable energy developers with lease proposals.
FirstLook also has become a significant driver of smaller-scale renewable energy adoption. “It has become the ‘go-to’ resource for hundreds of residential and commercial-scale manufacturers and installers,” said Christian Sarason, FirstLook product manager. “They use FirstLook as a consultative sales tool to help educate customers on the value of their on-site renewable resources, inform hardware and installation decisions, and calculate returns-on-investment.”
For example, Online Solar, Inc. features FirstLook on its website – MrSolar.com – to enable potential customers to get a better understanding of their solar resources when evaluating different hardware options. “Many of our new and existing clients need a reliable, accurate, and user-friendly tool to best evaluate their project needs,” said Blake Atkins, owner of MrSolar.com, a leading supplier of solar power and solar energy products including complete solar panel systems. “The FirstLook Prospecting tool and FirstLook Reports help our customers make the right choices and increase their level of confidence in their investment.”
FirstLook users interested in solar resources are offered solar irradiance values from the first comprehensive, contiguous, high-resolution solar dataset for the entire Western Hemisphere, developed by 3TIER. The dataset provides approximately three times the resolution of previous industry solar datasets for the United States, and is the only database today that covers all of North, Central, and South America.
For those seeking information about wind energy potential, FirstLook presents mean wind speed ranges for any location based on 3TIER’s proprietary global wind resource dataset. This dataset is the most accurate, consistent, and scientifically rigorous global wind dataset ever created. The global dataset was augmented in early 2009 to a 5km resolution after being previously available at a 15km resolution.
“Whether harnessing the power of wind or the sun, the diversity of the FirstLook user base illustrates the vastness of the renewable energy ecosystem and the tremendous value that accurate, affordable information plays in driving renewable energy adoption,” Westrick said. “FirstLook shortens the process needed to make sound decisions about where to invest in renewable power.”
As FirstLook users identify promising sites, they can augment FirstLook’s basic resource data by purchasing FirstLook Assessment Reports, which provide a more in-depth estimate of renewable energy resources at specific locations, including critical information about the spatial and temporal variablity of the resource.
In addition to FirstLook, 3TIER provides a full suite of assessment and forecasting products for wind, hydro, and solar energy projects. 3TIER uses its knowledge about weather, climate, and their impacts on weather-driven renewable energy resources to help clients make better decisions about their investments – before, during, and after their projects are built.