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Title: A Fast All-sky Radiation Model for Solar applications (FARMS): Algorithm and performance evaluation

Radiative transfer (RT) models simulating broadband solar radiation have been widely used by atmospheric scientists to model solar resources for various energy applications such as operational forecasting. Due to the complexity of solving the RT equation, the computation under cloudy conditions can be extremely time-consuming, though many approximations (e.g., two-stream approach and delta-M truncation scheme) have been utilized. Thus, a more efficient RT model is crucial for model developers as a new option for approximating solar radiation at the land surface with minimal loss of accuracy. In this study, we developed a fast all-sky radiation model for solar applications (FARMS) using the simplified clear-sky RT model, REST2, and simulated cloud transmittances and reflectances from the Rapid Radiation Transfer Model (RRTM) with a 16-stream Discrete Ordinates Radiative Transfer (DISORT). Simulated lookup tables (LUTs) of cloud transmittances and reflectances are created by varying cloud optical thicknesses, cloud particle sizes, and solar zenith angles. Equations with optimized parameters are fitted to the cloud transmittances and reflectances to develop the model. The all-sky solar irradiance at the land surface can then be computed rapidly by combining REST2 with the cloud transmittances and reflectances. This new RT model is more than 1,000 times faster thanmore » those currently utilized in solar resource assessment and forecasting because it does not explicitly solve the RT equation for each individual cloud condition. Our results indicate that the accuracy of the fast radiative transfer model is comparable to or better than two-stream approximation in term of computing cloud transmittance and solar radiation.« less
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Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 0038-092X
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Solar Energy; Journal Volume: 135
Research Org:
National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Solar Energy Technologies Office (EE-4S)
Country of Publication:
United States
14 SOLAR ENERGY; 47 OTHER INSTRUMENTATION; solar radiation; radiative transfer model; cloud