Solarimeters Vs Pyranometers

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When monitoring the performance of solar plants and solar energy, is it better using a silicon solarimeter or a pyranometer?

When deciding between solarimeters and pyranometers, it is better to use a solarimeter (or silicon cell irradiation sensor) for the following reasons.

  1. The silicon cell surveys the same radiation that a Photovoltaic system is capable of converting into energy.
  2. Some solarimeters are able to return an irradiation value independent of temperature.
  3. Solarimeters have a flat surface, similar to that of photovoltaic modules. They are also placed with the same orientation and inclination as the photovoltaic modules.
  4. High-end solarimeters have an output that is almost free from disturbances even in huge systems where many module strings are present and electromagnetic induction phenomenons are common. On the other hand pyranometers are conceived to work in areas without any disturbances as for example meteorological stations, that have usually 10-20 mV output signals, so that the signal that passes on the wire up to the monitoring system has a remarkable vulnerability to these kind of disturbances.
  5. Solarimeters are also cheaper than pyranometers.

Obviously, pyranometers have some advantages. In the downloadable PDF below, each of these four points is discussed in detail.

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