NWC REU 2018
May 21 - July 31



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Analysis of Solar Insolation and Solar Energy Production at an Oklahoma Mesonet Site

Zuleydian Roche Rivera


What is already known:

  • The Oklahoma Mesonet has horizontal global downwelling solar radiation data across the state for 25 years.
  • Oklahoma has plentiful sunny days.
  • Increasing temperatures within solar panels may decrease the efficiency of the panel.

What this study adds:

  • Experimental data of global downwelling solar radiation in the direction of a tilted solar panel for a year.
  • Seasonal calibration of the solar panel based on solar radiation.
  • Availability of solar radiation during critical days and times of peak demand.
  • No temperature dependence on the solar panel when using seasonal relationships.


Renewable energy sources, including solar energy, present opportunities for sustained development and electrical generation with minor impacts on Earth. Solar energy systems are becoming more affordable and, despite Oklahoma’s abundant sunny days each year, the solar energy field remains untapped. From April 2017 to April 2018, a field experiment was carried out at the Oklahoma Mesonet site at the National Weather Center to analyze the solar insolation and solar energy production. A solar panel was instrumented with its own pyranometer to measure the global downwelling solar radiation at a tilt angle of 47 degrees, along with solar panel temperature, current, and voltage. This experimental data was compared with the standard data set of the Mesonet site, where a seasonal variation was observed in the relationship between the horizontal solar radiation and the solar radiation at the tilted surface. A cubic equation defined the relationship between the observed power and the solar radiation at the solar panel. Using the relationship to estimate power, coupled with the observed power and the panel’s temperature, we found no temperature dependency for the energy production efficiency in the solar panel.

Full Paper [PDF]