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Pyranometers – the next generation

100 years ago, the world was introduced to the first generation of pyranometers. These thermal hemispherical viewing devices measured the irradiance of the sun on a horizontal surface. Since that first generation, small design changes have been made to improve this state of the art technology. However, all of those changes have been incremental; small changes, yielding small improvements. An entirely new design was needed to make major improvements. EKO Instruments recently made some very big improvements to the pyranometer design.

The new MS-80 Secondary Standard (highest class sensor) pyranometer performs at a level never seen before. Using unique detector technology and sensor architecture EKO has pushed the performance in a way no one could have predicted. This single dome sensor is less expensive to produce, when these savings are transferred to the customer, combined with the enhanced performance, the result is the best performing sensor in its class with a low cost of ownership.

Why a new detector and with new architecture?

While there are silicon photodiode radiometers that respond very quickly to changes in irradiance, the uncertainty in the measurements is rather high. Meteorologists, as well as the photovoltaic (PV) industry, needed a sensor that had a time constant more similar to the changing atmosphere and not to have smoothing PV power data because of a slow detector.

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