EME 810
Solar Resource Assessment and Economics

3.1. Learning Outcomes


At the end of this lesson you should be able to:

  • identify the seven key properties of sunlight;
  • differentiate between technical air mass for lab/field testing and meteorological air masses;
  • explain the concept of climate regimes;
  • apply clear sky models (REST2 or Bird Clear Sky) to a location and compare the result to real measured data;
  • identify the contributions that relate to the solar resource other than the sun (clouds and ground albedo);
  • explain Taylor's hypothesis and how it relates to solar intermittency (moving clouds).

What is due for Lesson 3?

This lesson will take two weeks to complete. Please refer to the Canvas Calendar for specific timeframes and due dates - those can vary from semester to semester. Specific directions for the assignments below can be found further within this lesson.

Lesson 3 Assignments
Required Reading:

J.R. Brownson, Solar Energy Conversion Systems (SECS), Chapter 3 - Laws of Light (review)

J.R. Brownson, Solar Energy Conversion Systems (SECS), Chapter 5 - Meteorology: the Many Facets of the Sky

J.R. Brownson, Solar Energy Conversion Systems (SECS), Chapter 6 - Sun-Earth Geometry (Moments, Hours & Days section)

C. A. Gueymard (2012) Clear-sky irradiance predictions for solar resource mapping and large-scale applications: Improved validation methodology and detailed performance analysis of 18 broadband radiative models Solar Energy 86, 2145-2169.

J. Rayl, G. S. Young, and J. R. S. Brownson (2013): Irradiance co-spectrum analysis: Tools for decision support and technological planning Solar Energy 95, 364-375.

Optional Reading (not required): Bird and Hulstrom (1981): Simplified Clear Sky Model for Direct and Diffuse Insolation on Horizontal Surfaces, Technical Report No. SERI/TR-642-761, Golden, CO: Solar Energy Research Institute

Meteorology for Scientists and Engineers, 2nd ed. by Roland B. Stull (Chapter 7).

J.R. Brownson, Solar Energy Conversion Systems (SECS), Chapter 8 - Measure and Estimation of the Solar Resource
To Do Learning Activities
  • Four Laws of Light 
  • Clear Sky Model 

Discussion: Climate Regimes

Quiz Assignment (See Canvas)

Engage in all Try-This and Self-check activities included in the lesson (not graded).

Topic(s) Principles of Light behavior

Engineering Air Mass

Meteorological Air Masses

Clear Sky Models

Anisotropy from clear and non-clear sky (and ground)

Clouds and solar intermittency


If you have any questions, please post them to the Lesson 3 General Questions and Comments Discussion Forum in Canvas. I will check these forums regularly to respond. Feel free to go through the comments and post your own responses if you are able to help out a classmate.