Within the Earth Observation Market Development (EOMD) program of the European Space Agency (ESA) the ENVISOLAR project aims at an intensified usage of earth observation based information products in the solar energy industries. Existing services for investment decision, plant management, load forecasting, and science and consulting rely on high quality surface solar irradiance measurements and reliable processing chains to deliver such information regularly. Requirements for earth observation data as well as blockages preventing their use have been identified. In consequence, existing data processing chains are analyzed as to their conformity with the needs of the solar industry. The paper focuses on how earth observation itself can contribute to the market development of solar energy technologies. Issues like quality of irradiance data for planning and managing solar energy systems, reliability and availability of earth observation information, requirements as to temporal, spatial and spectral resolution of earth observation data, and the cost-effectiveness of satellite based information compared to maintenance costs for a large set of on-site measurement devices are addressed.

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