Data for Renewable Energy Planning, Policy, and Investment

Research output: NRELFact Sheet


Reliable, robust, and validated data are critical for informed planning, policy development, and investment in the clean energy sector. The Renewable Energy (RE) Explorer was developed to support data-driven renewable energy analysis that can inform key renewable energy decisions globally. This document presents the types of geospatial and other data at the core of renewable energy analysis and decision making. Individual data sets used to inform decisions vary in relation to spatial and temporal resolution, quality, and overall usefulness. From Data to Decisions, a complementary geospatial data and analysis decision guide, provides an in-depth view of these and other considerations to enable data-driven planning, policymaking, and investment. Data support a wide variety of renewable energy analyses and decisions, including technical and economic potential assessment, renewable energy zone analysis, grid integration, risk and resiliency identification, electrification, and distributed solar photovoltaic potential. This fact sheet provides information on the types of data that are important for renewable energy decision making using the RE Data Explorer or similar types of geospatial analysis tools.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages4
StatePublished - 2017

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/FS-7A40-68899


  • geospatial
  • investment
  • mapping
  • photovoltaic
  • planning
  • policy
  • renewable energy
  • validated data
  • visualization


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