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Solar Measurement and Modeling

NREL supports grid integration studies, industry, government, and academia by disseminating solar resource measurements, models, and best practices.

Photo of pyranometers used to measure solar radiation.

These resources are used to design and plan renewable energy systems. Since 1981, NREL’s researchers have continuously gathered basic solar radiation information, and they now gather high-resolution data in up to 1-second intervals from World Meteorological Organization first-class radiometers and photodiode sensors.

Capabilities

  • Solar resource calibration, measurement, and characterization
  • Solar resource modeling
  • Solar forecasting
  • National and international standards development and best practices dissemination
  • Solar monitoring training and mentorship

Projects

The Solar Resource Calibration, Measurement, and Dissemination project supports the Department of Energy SunShot Initiative by improving the tools and methods that measure solar radiation to reduce uncertainty in predicting solar output and thereby lower risk in solar projects. This project seeks to develop and disseminate accurate solar measurement and modeling methods, best practices and standards, and data to stakeholders, including academia, industry, and laboratories.

This project seeks to build on satellite-based modeling to quantify solar resource in the plane of array (POA) for various PV module types. The project will provide technology-specific, long-term PV resource data that will enable increased use of POA measurements, resulting in an improvement in the accuracy of PV plant performance assessment. This increased accuracy will significantly reduce the price of electricity delivered and increase return on investment of a proposed project, thereby increasing the viability of solar projects.

Publications

View all NREL publications about solar measurement and modeling.

Contact

Manajit Sengupta

Chief Scientist

manajit.sengupta@nrel.gov | 303-275-3706