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An Integrating Pyranometer for Climatological Observer Stations and Mesoscale Networks

J. P. KerrDepartment of Soil and Water Sciences, University of Wisconsin, Madison

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G. W. ThurtellDepartment of Soil and Water Sciences, University of Wisconsin, Madison

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C. B. TannerDepartment of Soil and Water Sciences, University of Wisconsin, Madison

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Abstract

The silicon photovoltaic solar cell has made possible the construction of simple pyranometers of reasonable accuracy. Cell response is linear, temperature sensitivity is low, and spectral response does not cause serious error, provided the cell is used in open sunlight.

The solar cell has been mounted beneath a special diffusing unit to obtain a rugged pyranometer with excellent cosine response. This pyranometer has been coupled with a solid state integrator developed for this purpose. The integral is recorded with either visual or printing counters.

Tests were made during September 1965 through February 1966 when low solar altitude and severe operating conditions would cause greatest error; and again during March 1966 through July 1966 when solar radiation intensities were high. For the first period the standard error of estimate and the solar radiation means were, respectively, 84 and 2200 Wh m−2 day−1. For the second period the corresponding values were 158 and 5630 Wh m−2 day−1.

Abstract

The silicon photovoltaic solar cell has made possible the construction of simple pyranometers of reasonable accuracy. Cell response is linear, temperature sensitivity is low, and spectral response does not cause serious error, provided the cell is used in open sunlight.

The solar cell has been mounted beneath a special diffusing unit to obtain a rugged pyranometer with excellent cosine response. This pyranometer has been coupled with a solid state integrator developed for this purpose. The integral is recorded with either visual or printing counters.

Tests were made during September 1965 through February 1966 when low solar altitude and severe operating conditions would cause greatest error; and again during March 1966 through July 1966 when solar radiation intensities were high. For the first period the standard error of estimate and the solar radiation means were, respectively, 84 and 2200 Wh m−2 day−1. For the second period the corresponding values were 158 and 5630 Wh m−2 day−1.

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