Design Principles and Field Performance of a Solar Spectral Irradiance Meter

Keith Emery, V. Tatsiankou, K. Hinzer, J. Haysom, H. Schriemer, R. Beal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus Citations


A solar spectral irradiance meter (SSIM), designed for measuring the direct normal irradiance (DNI) in six wavelength bands, has been combined with models to determine key atmospheric transmittances and the resulting spectral irradiance distribution of DNI under all sky conditions. The design principles of the SSIM, implementation of a parameterized transmittance model, and field performance comparisons of modeled solar spectra with reference radiometer measurements are presented. Two SSIMs were tested and calibrated at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) against four spectroradiometers and an absolute cavity radiometer. The SSIMs' DNI was on average within 1% of the DNI values reported by one of NREL's primary absolute cavity radiometers. An additional SSIM was installed at the SUNLAB Outdoor Test Facility in September 2014, with ongoing collection of environmental and spectral data. The SSIM's performance in Ottawa was compared against a commercial pyrheliometer and a spectroradiometer over an eight month study. The difference in integrated daily spectral irradiance between the SSIM and the ASD spectroradiometer was found to be less than 1%. The cumulative energy density collected by the SSIM over this duration agreed with that measured by an Eppley model NIP pyrheliometer to within 0.5%. No degradation was observed.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)94-102
Number of pages9
JournalSolar Energy
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier Ltd.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5J00-64997


  • Atmospheric parameterization
  • Direct normal spectral irradiance
  • Solar resource assessment
  • Solar spectral irradiance meter
  • Solar spectrum
  • SSIM


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