The National Solar Radiation Data Base (NSRDB)

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The National Solar Radiation Data Base (NSRDB), consisting of solar radiation and meteorological data over the United States and regions of the surrounding countries, is a publicly open dataset that has been created and disseminated during the last 23 years. This paper briefly reviews the complete package of surface observations, models, and satellite data used for the latest version of the NSRDB as well as improvements in the measurement and modeling technologies deployed in the NSRDB over the years. The current NSRDB provides solar irradiance at a 4-km horizontal resolution for each 30-min interval from 1998 to 2016 computed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory's (NREL's) Physical Solar Model (PSM) and products from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA's) Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES), the National Ice Center's (NIC's) Interactive Multisensor Snow and Ice Mapping System (IMS), and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA's) Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) and Modern Era Retrospective analysis for Research and Applications, version 2 (MERRA-2). The NSRDB irradiance data have been validated and shown to agree with surface observations with mean percentage biases within 5% and 10% for global horizontal irradiance (GHI) and direct normal irradiance (DNI), respectively. The data can be freely accessed via or through an application programming interface (API). During the last 23 years, the NSRDB has been widely used by an ever-growing group of researchers and industry both directly and through tools such as NREL's System Advisor Model.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)51-60
Number of pages10
JournalRenewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
StatePublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Elsevier Ltd

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5D00-70139


  • Satellite
  • Solar Radiation


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