With solar photovoltaic modules relying on irradiance to produce energy, solar resource sensors are a must to include in a solar project measurement campaign. In this post, we will be introducing our selection of solar sensors, such as pyranometers, pyrheliometers, and the sun trackers that support them!

Pyranometers: Different models for different purposes

Pyranometers are the backbone to most solar measurement campaigns. Generally, they are set up to measure global horizontal irradiance (GHI), plane of array, albedo, as well as diffuse horizontal irradiance (DHI). When suitably integrated, pyranometers can be used to calculate direct normal irradiance (DNI), therefore playing a vital part in quantifying solar resource and module productivity.

In applications where uncertainty minimization is crucial in data collection, Energy Canvas currently offers three main models of ISO 9060: 1990 Secondary Standard pyranometers: Kipp & Zonen CMP11 and CMP 10, as well as the EKO MS-80 series of sensors, in which the MS-80S also meets the ISO 9060:2018 Class A standard for minimal spectral error.

For situations where response time needs to be particularly fast, such as in conjunction with the use of rotating shadow-band radiometers, silicon pyranometers like the EKO ML-01 could be a good choice for getting the job done. Although these are Class C pyranometers, they are an affordable and reliable addition to a system when seeking increased resilience.

In other instances where response times need to be fast, the Delta-T SPN1 pyranometers are a dependable 2-in-1, in which they measure both GHI and DHI without additional setup. Apart from spectral selectivity, these pyranometers either match or exceed the criteria of the ISO First Class standard and could support smaller projects or rooftop systems.

Pyrheliometers: Add confidence to data

Since the intensity of DNI is proportional to the productivity of solar modules, the accuracy and precision of DNI data have a heavy influence in the modelling and prediction of energy production. Therefore, apart from calculating the DNI from data generated by the pyranometers, another way of obtaining DNI information is to directly measure it using a pyrheliometer, such as the EKO MS-57.

Pyrheliometers offer a way to upgrade a measurement campaign by improving data quality confidence through direct measurement of the DNI. These sensors isolate out the diffused irradiance, measuring the direct component only, bringing greater understanding and less uncertainty when predicting plant performance for both fixed tilt and tracked systems. That said, opting to add a pyrheliometer to a project will also require the installation of a sun tracking system.

Sun trackers: Enabling an ecosystem

For those looking to mount solar sensors onto a sun tracking system for any developmental or operational asset, Energy Canvas also carries the EKO Sun Tracker. These trackers function as a platform for mounting pyrheliometers and can also be fitted with shading discs for precise DNI and DHI resource measurement.

Curious to know what combination of solar sensors can help maximize your understanding of site conditions? Contact us and our team will be more than happy to discuss!