Uncertainty Estimate for the Outdoor Calibration of Solar Pyranometers: A Metrologist Perspective

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    Pyranometers are used outdoors to measure solar irradiance. By design, this type of radiometer can measure the; total hemispheric (global) or diffuse (sky) irradiance when the detector is unshaded or shaded from the sun disk, respectively. These measurements are used in a variety of applications including solar energy conversion, atmospheric studies, agriculture, and materials science. Propercalibration of pyranometers is essential to ensure measurement quality. This paper describes a step-by-step method for calculating and reporting the uncertainty of the calibration, using the guidelines of the ISO 'Guide to the Expression of Uncertainty in Measurement' or GUM, that is applied to the pyranometer; calibration procedures used at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). TheNREL technique; characterizes a responsivity function of a pyranometer as a function of the zenith angle, as well as reporting a single; calibration responsivity value for a zenith angle of 45 ..deg... The uncertainty analysis shows that a lower uncertainty can be achieved by using the response function of a pyranometer determined as a function of zenith angle, in lieu of just using; the averagevalue at 45..deg... By presenting the contribution of each uncertainty source to the total uncertainty; users will be able to troubleshoot and improve their calibration process. The uncertainty analysis method can also be used to determine the uncertainty of different calibration techniques and applications, such as deriving the uncertainty of field measurements.
    Original languageAmerican English
    Pages (from-to)58-66
    Number of pages9
    Issue number4
    StatePublished - 2008

    NREL Publication Number

    • NREL/JA-581-41370


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