Solar Radiation: Practical Modeling for Renewable Energy Applications, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Solar Radiation

Practical Modeling for Renewable Energy Applications, 1st Edition

By Daryl Ronald Myers

CRC Press

210 pages | 33 B/W Illus.

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Written by a leading scientist with over 35 years of experience working at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Solar Radiation: Practical Modeling for Renewable Energy Applications brings together the most widely used, easily implemented concepts and models for estimating broadband and spectral solar radiation data. The author addresses various technical and practical questions about the accuracy of solar radiation measurements and modeling.

While the focus is on engineering models and results, the book does review the fundamentals of solar radiation modeling and solar radiation measurements. It also examines the accuracy of solar radiation modeling and measurements. The majority of the book describes the most popular simple models for estimating broadband and spectral solar resources available to flat plate, concentrating, photovoltaic, solar thermal, and daylighting engineering designs. Sufficient detail is provided for readers to implement the models in assorted development environments.

Covering the nuts and bolts of practical solar radiation modeling applications, this book helps readers translate solar radiation data into viable, real-world renewable energy applications. It answers many how-to questions relating to solar energy conversion systems, solar daylighting, energy efficiency of buildings, and other solar radiation applications.


This work provides a unique balance of a theoretical treatment and practical application for a broad readership interested in learning and using the latest information on solar radiation modeling. The scope is comprehensive, giving the reader everything from the subject fundamentals to the numerical recipes and technical references for further study. The treatment of uncertainty and the ‘modeler’s toolbox’ formed by the appendices are reason enough to have this book.

This is a timely publication for understanding and applying solar resource characterization … a uniquely comprehensive treatment of the many aspects of modeling broadband and spectral solar irradiance at the Earth’s surface. The numerical recipes for modeling solar radiation under clear and cloudy sky conditions make this a very practical reference as well as a useful introduction to the subject. The balanced content is exemplified by the treatment of solar measurements and measurement uncertainty that are key factors in the development and validation of models.

—Tom Stoffel, U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory

… a relevant and well-structured tour through the ever-increasing array of radiometric modeling techniques available to researchers. … an indispensable guide to practitioners and teachers by one of the leading authorities on solar resource modeling. Students will appreciate the worked examples. … It offers a thorough and long-overdue summary of solar radiometric modeling from one of the most experienced authorities in the field.

—Michael Brooks, University of KwaZulu-Natal

The book gives a unique overview of the models used in the solar radiation community. … even the more complex models are shown in all details. … This is a good textbook for students who want to understand and reproduce the models used in solar radiation modeling nowadays.

—Jan Remund, Meteotest

For people looking for better information to understand solar radiation science, measuring techniques, instrumentation uncertainties, and modeling of solar radiation under different orientation and sky conditions, I recommend this book.

—Alemu Tadesse, SunEdison

Table of Contents

Fundamentals of Solar Radiation

The Sun as a Star

The Earth and the Sun

Solar Time and Solar Position

Solar Components

Clearness Index

Introduction to Solar Radiation Measurements

Overview of Detector Technology


Pyrheliometers: Measuring Direct Normal Irradiance

Pyranometers: Measuring Hemispherical Radiation

Spectral Distributions


Measurement Networks

Modeling Clear Sky Solar Radiation

The Atmospheric Filter

Physics-Based Models

Empirical Models

Parameterization Models

Modeling Global Irradiance under All Sky Conditions

Simple Correlation Models


Empirical All Sky Radiation Models

All Sky Solar Radiation from Weather Satellites

The Future: Forecasting Solar Radiation

Modeling Missing Components


Estimating Diffuse from Global Horizontal Irradiance

Estimating Direct from Global Normal Irradiance

Applications: Modeling Solar Radiation Available to Collectors

Solar Collector Geometries

Isotropic Models

Anisotropic Models

The Perez Anisotropic Tilt Conversion Model

Introduction to Modeling Spectral Distributions

The Spectral Atmospheric Filter

Renewable Energy Applications for Spectral Data and Models

Complex Spectral Models

Standard Spectral Distributions

CIE Spectral Model—Illuminant D65 and Daylight

Bird Clear Sky Spectral Model SPCTRL2

Gueymard Clear Sky Spectral Model SMARTS

SPCTRL2 and SMARTS for ASTM Standard Reference Conditions

Spectral Distributions under All Sky Conditions

Introduction to Modeling Daylight


Illuminance versus Irradiance

Applications of Daylight Data and Models

The Perez Anisotropic Illuminance Model

International Commission on Illumination Models

Sky Luminance Model Accuracy

Other Sky Luminance Distribution Models

Other Reading

Summary and Future Prospects

Overview of the Modeling Chapters

Current Issues and Future Prospects

Appendix A: Bird Clear Sky Model in Excel

Appendix B: Excel Structure for DISC Model of Direct Normal Irradiance (DNI) from Global Horizontal Irradiance (GHI)

Appendix C: Tables for CIE D65 Reference Spectrum and Spectral Daylight Temperature Model

Appendix D: SPCTRL2 FORTRAN Source Code

Appendix E: Photopic Response Function V(λ) Curve

Appendix F: Perez Anisotropic Model Coefficients for Luminous Efficacy and Zenith Luminance Model

A Summary and References appear at the end of each chapter.

About the Author

Daryl R. Myers worked as a senior scientist at the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) for 37 years before retiring in 2011. He contributed to the development of many national solar radiometry consensus standards, the U.S. National Solar Radiation Data Base, and joint satellite data validation projects. He is the author or coauthor of 160 technical publications.

About the Series

Energy and the Environment

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING / Power Resources / Alternative & Renewable