Radiometer Calibration Methods and Resulting Irradiance Differences

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2 Scopus Citations


Accurate solar radiation measured by radiometers depends on instrument performance specifications, installation method, calibration procedure, measurement conditions, maintenance practices, location, and environmental conditions. This study addresses the effect of different calibration methodologies and resulting differences provided by radiometric calibration service providers such as the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and manufacturers of radiometers. Some of these methods calibrate radiometers indoors and some outdoors. To establish or understand the differences in calibration methodologies, we processed and analyzed field-measured data from radiometers deployed for 10 months at NREL's Solar Radiation Research Laboratory. These different methods of calibration resulted in a difference of ±1% to ±2% in solar irradiance measurements. Analyzing these differences will ultimately assist in determining the uncertainties of the field radiometer data and will help develop a consensus on a standard for calibration. Further advancing procedures for precisely calibrating radiometers to world reference standards that reduce measurement uncertainties will help the accurate prediction of the output of planned solar conversion projects and improve the bankability of financing solar projects.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)614-622
Number of pages9
JournalProgress in Photovoltaics: Research and Applications
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5D00-66409


  • pyranometer
  • pyrheliometer
  • radiometer calibration
  • solar energy


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