1st Edition

Solar and Infrared Radiation Measurements

    418 Pages 16 Color & 213 B/W Illustrations
    by CRC Press

    The rather specialized field of solar and infrared radiation measurement has become more and more important in the face of growing demands by the renewable energy and climate change research communities for data that are more accurate and have increased temporal and spatial resolution. Updating decades of acquired knowledge in the field, Solar and Infrared Radiation Measurements details the strengths and weaknesses of instruments used to conduct such solar and infrared radiation measurements.

    Topics covered include:

    • Radiometer design and performance
    • Equipment calibration, installation, operation, and maintenance
    • Data quality assessment
    • Methods to use measured data to estimate irradiance for any surface

    With a broad range of content that will benefit students and more experienced readers alike, this resource serves as a primer and technical reference that presents the basic terminology and fundamentals for resource assessment. It explores the history of solar radiation instruments and addresses direct normal, global, diffuse, and tilted measurements, as well as the characteristics of instruments used for these measurements. The authors consider methods of assessing the uncertainty of solar measurements and then cover albedo, infrared, net, and spectral irradiance measurements and instrumentation. The book devotes a section to other meteorological instruments, and another to the basics for installing and operating a solar monitoring station. Appendices include information on solar resource assessment modeling and satellite-derived irradiance, along with other useful material.

    This book’s authors are experts who each have more than 30 years of experience developing and operating multiple measurement stations, working with industry to improve radiometry, and conducting various research projects.

    Measuring Solar and Infrared Radiation

    Solar Resource Definitions and Terminology
    The Sun
    Extraterrestrial Radiation
    Solar Coordinates
    Zenith, Azimuth, and Hour Angles
    Solar, Universal, and Local Standard Time
    Solar Position Calculation
    Sunrise and Sunset Times
    Global, Direct Normal, and Diffuse Irradiance
    Solar Radiation on Tilted Surfaces
    Spectral Nature of Solar Radiation
    Fundamentals of Thermodynamics and Heat Transfer
    Photodiodes and Solar Cell Prerequisites

    Historic Milestones in Solar and Infrared Radiation Measurement
    Earliest Observations of the Sun and the Nature of Light
    Nineteenth-Century Radiometers
    Operational Radiometers of the Twentieth Century
    Recent Advances in Solar Measurements

    Direct Normal Irradiance
    Overview of Direct Normal Irradiance
    Pyrheliometer Geometry
    Operational Thermopile Pyrheliometers
    Absolute Cavity Radiometers
    Uncertainty Analysis for Pyrheliometer Calibration
    Uncertainty Analysis for Operational Thermopile Pyrheliometers
    Uncertainty Analysis for Rotating Shadowband Radiometer Measurements of Direct Normal Irradiance
    Direct Normal Irradiance Models
    Historical and Current Surface-Measured Direct Normal Irradiance Data

    Measuring Global Irradiance
    Introduction to Global Horizontal Irradiance Measurements
    Black-Disk Thermopile Pyranometers
    Black-and-White Pyranometers
    Photodiode-Based Pyranometers
    Calibration of Pyranometers
    Pyranometer Calibration Uncertainties

    Diffuse Irradiance
    The Measurement of Diffuse Irradiance
    Calibration of Diffuse Pyranometers
    Value of Accurate Diffuse Measurements

    Rotating Shadowband Radiometers
    The Rotating Shadowband Radiometer
    The Multifilter Rotating Shadowband Radiometer

    Measuring Solar Radiation on a Tilted Surface
    Effect of Tilt on Single Black Detector Pyranometers
    Effect of Tilt on Black-and-White Pyranometers
    Effect of Tilt on Photodiode Pyranometers
    Recommendations for Tilted Irradiance Measurements
    Notes on Modeling PV System Performance with Photodiode Pyranometers

    Broadband Albedo
    Spectral Albedo
    Bidirectional Reflectance Distribution Function
    Albedo Measurements

    Infrared Measurements
    Improved Calibrations
    Other Pyrgeometer Manufacturers
    Operational Considerations

    Net Radiation Measurements
    Single-Sensor (All-Wave) Net Radiometers
    Two-Sensor Net Radiometers
    Four-Sensor Net Radiometers
    Accuracy of Net Radiometers
    A Better Net Radiation Standard
    Net Radiometer Sources

    Solar Spectral Measurements
    The Extraterrestrial Solar Spectrum
    Atmospheric Interactions
    Broadband Filter Radiometry
    Narrow-Band Filter Radiometry

    Meteorological Measurements
    Ambient Temperature
    Wind Speed and Wind Direction
    Relative Humidity
    Recommended Minimum Accuracies for Operational Instruments

    Setting Up a Solar Monitoring Station
    Choosing a Site
    Grounding and Shielding
    Data Logger and Communications
    Measurement Interval
    Cleaning and Maintenance
    Record Keeping
    Importance of Reviewing Data
    Quality Control of Data
    Field Calibrations
    Physical Layout of a Solar-Monitoring Station

    Appendix A: Modeling Solar Radiation
    Appendix B: Solar Radiation Estimates Derived from Satellite Measurements
    Appendix C: Sun Path Charts
    Appendix D: Solar Position Algorithms
    Appendix E: Useful Conversion Factors
    Appendix F: Sources for Equipment
    Appendix G: BORCAL Report
    Appendix H: Sunshine Duration
    Appendix I: Failure Modes


    Frank Vignola is the director of the University of Oregon (UO) Solar Energy Center. He received his B.A. in physics at the University of California–Berkeley in 1967 and his Ph.D. in elementary particle physics at the UO in 1975. Deciding to apply his skills to more practical applications he started working in solar energy at the UO in 1977. Vignola helped establish and manage the UO solar radiation monitoring network that has the longest-running high-quality solar radiation data set in the United States. He has organized a number of solar resource assessment workshops and has written and contributed to approximately 100 papers in the field. He is currently an associate editor for solar resource assessment for the Solar Energy Journal.

    Joseph Michalsky is a physical scientist in the Earth System Research Laboratory within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Prior to NOAA he was with the Atmospheric Sciences Research Center at the State University of New York–Albany. He began his career at the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Michalsky received his B.S. in physics at Lamar University and M.S. and Ph.D. in physics at the University of Kentucky. His early career focused on astronomical research before taking on problems in solar energy and the atmospheric sciences. Michalsky has nearly 100 refereed publications in these fields.

    Thomas Stoffel manages the Solar Resources and Forecasting Group at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. He received his B.S. in aerospace engineering from the University of Colorado and M.S. in meteorology from the University of Utah. He began his career as an aerospace engineer at the U.S. Air Force Propulsion Laboratory simulating gas turbine engine performance and infrared radiation signatures. In 1978, Stoffel joined the Solar Energy Research Institute (now NREL), where he developed the Solar Radiation Research Laboratory (SRRL) that continues to provide research-quality solar and infrared radiation measurements. Stoffel has more than 80 publications addressing solar resource characterization.

    "... fills a significant gap in the literature, providing updated information about the latest radiation measurement instrumentation and guidelines for its use. Another advantage of the new book is that it is structured as a textbook, including questions for the student at the end of each chapter, which increases its appeal beyond a reference for specialists."
    —Laura Hinkelman, PhD., University of Washington

    "… provides the type of details needed for engineering a solar radiation monitoring system, including a history of devices used, detailed descriptions of the state-of-the-art devices, methods of calibration and uncertainty estimation, setup of a solar monitoring station, and manufacturers who can provide the equipment."
    —Frank Rytkonen, P.E., Oregon Institute of Technology, Portland, USA

    "… the first comprehensive treatment of measurement and instrumentation of solar and infrared radiation. … a well-organized approach to covering the topics including important concepts, physics principles, classical operational radiometry, state of the art technologies for solar and meteorological measurements, solar monitoring station, etc. … examples are provided to help students learn the material. … not only a suitable textbook for academic researchers and solar engineering students, but also an indispensable resource for solar systems engineers as well."
    Prof. Xin Wang, PhD, Oregon Institute of Technology, Klamath Falls, USA