Kipp & Zonen Blog

Solar Energy in India and the Importance of Pyranometer Calibration

[fa icon="calendar"] December 22, 2017 / by Danelle Fash

Danelle Fash

The Future of Solar Power in India

The Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM), an initiative of the Government of India and Indian State Governments, has targeted generating 100 GW of the country’s national power through solar sources by the year 2022.

In the next few years, the country will experience massive increases in power inputs coming from solar sources and the stability of the grid will rely heavily on the ability to measure, forecast, and study solar radiation data from ground-based or on-site measurement sources. The reliability and sustainability of large-scale solar production may be vulnerable if solar data and studies lack accuracy. This underlines the ever-growing importance of regularly calibrating solar radiation instrumentation.

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Pyranometer Calibration is Key to Solar Power Stability

Here at Campbell Scientific Canada (CSC), and at Kipp & Zonen, we recommend solar radiation instruments that are operating in the field, be calibrated at regular intervals, ideally every two years. After a two-year period in the field, the sensitivity of an instrument is slightly altered due to prolonged exposure to the sun, and that can cause some deviation in the sensor’s measurement properties.

Our CSC solar experts like to relate pyranometer calibration to vehicle maintenance. Your car routinely requires an oil change in order to extend its life and prevent unexpected downtime; a sensor works in much the same way. We want to ensure that our customers continue to receive top quality data over the life of their project. And when sensors fail due to poor maintenance, it can be a large hassle to return the system to full operating capacity. With proactive maintenance, operational downtime can be avoided.

Weather station with ventilated horizontal and POA pyranometers by Campbell Scientific Canada

Pyranometer calibration to an international standard addresses this issue, and ensures the data is reliable and intercomparable, guaranteeing its quality for both the Indian solar industry and for international scientific research on solar radiation. The characteristics and performance classifications of pyranometers are defined in ISO 9060. The most commonly used indoor and outdoor calibration methodologies are described in ISO 9847 (ASTM E824) ‘Solar Energy - Calibration of Field Pyranometers by Comparison to a Reference Pyranometer’.

Over and above calibration, it’s also important for clients to schedule cleaning and inspection of sensors at regular intervals. In places such as India, the amount of dust accumulation can be very high, so it is an important aspect to consider, both for sensor performance as well as overall plant performance.

Indian National Calibration Facility for Radiometers

In India, both Campbell Scientific and Kipp & Zonen have provided equipment to various industries across various applications. Both companies’ products are in high demand by many private and government sector clients who are looking for top quality data, whether it’s for eddy covariance research applications, or understanding the solar resource at their solar farm.

CSC has offered calibration services in our Canadian office for years, and in order to facilitate the recommended pyranometer calibrations for clients in India, we’ve teamed up with Kipp & Zonen to install and operate the Indian Calibration Facility for Radiometers (INCFR) in Gurugram, India.

The facility performs pyranometer calibrations to Annex A3.1 of ISO 9847, which is described in the standard as the “Kipp & Zonen Device and Procedure”.

This state of the art facility will allow clients to calibrate their Kipp & Zonen radiometers without the expense or downtime that comes with shipping sensors to foreign calibration facilities. The increased efficiency, decreased cost, and higher level of service the facility brings will make the INCFR an indispensable resource to Indian clients.

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Topics: Calibration, maintenance

Danelle Fash

by Danelle Fash

Marketing Specialist at Campbell Scientific Canada