Terrestrial Solar Spectral Modeling Tools and Applications for Photovoltaic Devices: Preprint

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


This conference paper describes the variations in terrestrial spectral irradiance on photovoltaic devices can be an important consideration in photovoltaic device design and performance. This paper describes three available atmospheric transmission models, MODTRAN, SMARTS2, and SPCTRAL2. We describe the basics of their operation and performance, and applications in the photovoltaic community.Examples of model input and output data and comparisons between the model results for each under similar conditions are presented. The SMARTS2 model is shown to be much easier to use, as accurate as the complex MODTRAN model, and more accurate than the historical NREL SPCTRAL2 model.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages7
StatePublished - 2002
Event29th IEEE PV Specialists Conference - New Orleans, Louisiana
Duration: 20 May 200224 May 2002


Conference29th IEEE PV Specialists Conference
CityNew Orleans, Louisiana

Bibliographical note

Prepared for the 29th IEEE PV Specialists Conference, 20-24 May 2002, New Orleans, Louisiana

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-520-31407


  • broadband global irradiance
  • direct normal reference spectrum
  • fast atmospheric signature code (fascode)
  • Monte Carlo models
  • PV
  • scattering asymmetry factor
  • solar radiation
  • spectral measurements
  • terrestrial spectral irradiance


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