Free training in solar radiation - session 2015

Last update: Jan. 2015

14-15-16 Jan. 2015, Sophia Antipolis

Dear Users, welcome to this page dedicated to the third session of the training in solar radiation.



        For this new session, we will pay attention to the story of the fictional character Paul. Paul is an engineer at SunnyFlower, a flourishing (and also fictional!) consultancy company in solar energy. He has been charged to build a solar project from the very beginning, from the identification of the most promising and suitable site regarding the solar technology, up to the supervision of the operational phase of the plant.



  • Pr. Lucien Wald, OIE (MINES ParisTech)
  • Dr. Philippe Blanc, OIE (MINES ParisTech)
  • Dr. Etienne Wey, Transvalor S.A.
  • Dr. Claire Thomas, Transvalor S.A.


Day 1:

09:00-10:00: Presentation of the teachers and of OIE, MINES ParisTech and Transvalor. Round table of attendees.

10:00-11:00: Initially, Paul needs to select the future location for the solar project site inside a predetermined zone (region or country). He first needs to understand what are the different solar irradiation components and the parameters influencing these components (sun position, atmosphere, clouds, shadowing…) and the relation between these components and a given solar technology. He learns where to find and how to use GIS maps (utilities, land cover, digital elevation models…) and the different irradiation components solar atlases. He selects the best place to sit the plant with the most adapted solar technology, finding the best compromise for several parameters of choice. At the end of this session, a favorable location is selected and the most suitable technology for this site is defined.

    11:00-11:20: Break

11:20-12:30: Paul is then required to provide a complete bankable report. For this purpose, he needs to obtain a long term time series of radiation values. He thus first looks for in situ measurements, directly on the site of interest or nearby. In the case such data are not directly available he contemplates the installation of a ground station. Advantages and drawbacks of the different existing instruments are presented, and a list of recommendations for the installation and maintenance of such instruments is given.

    12:30-14:00: lunch (buffet) at Café de Sophia.

14:00-15:00: End of the presentation of the different instruments. List of recommendations to correctly set up a station.

15:00-17:00: Study of different other potential situations for Paul:

  • Case 2: The site selected by Paul possesses a measuring station with long term time series of accurate mesurements
  • Case 3: The site selected by Paul is surrounded by several measuring stations.
  • Case 4: Paul has set up a measuring station (or uses an existing one) but measurements are of insufficient quality.
  • Case 5: Paul has set up a measuring station and measurements are of sufficient quality.

    15:30-15:45: Break

At the end of the first day of training, Paul has a short term time series of accurate measurements from an in-situ station.

    17:00 Adjourn day 1

Day 2:

09:00-09:30: Paul contemplates supplementing his ground station measurements using the meteorological analyses. Presentation of the different models, strenghts and weaknesses. Reasons why they should not be used to create a long term time series of values.
09:30-10:30: Paul will supplement his data using satellite measurements. List of existing databases of radiation values from satellite imagery. Strenghts of such remoted instruments, and illustration of limits.

    10:30-10:50: Break

10:50-12:30: Presentation of the protocol of evaluation of satellite estimations.
In particular, Paul will pay attention to the widely used Heliosat-2 method. Strenghts and limits, to introduce the MACC products and services (McClear and HelioClim-4) developed later in the training.

    12:30-14:00: lunch (buffet) at Café de Sophia.

14:00-14:30: Paul performs a calibration of the short term ground station measurements using the long term HelioClim-3 time series. Methods of calibration. Performance of the calibration. Discrepancy remaining after the calibration process.

14:30-15:00: Building the bankable report: report of variability, representativity of the data. Typical Meteorological Years, PVsyst and the SAM (Simulator Advisor Model) software.

Once the long term time series of reliable solar radiation values obtained, Paul is now able to establish his report, by providing a statistical analysis of the data together with one or several Typical Meteorological Years (TMY). The project has been accepted, and it is thus supported by banks. After a while, the installation is built and then connected to the electric network. It starts to produce energy to the grid.

15:00-15:45: Plant exploitation: first, Paul decides to monitor his installation using a pyranometer. Check the data provided by the instrument using satellite measurements, control time shift, soiling, low batteries, modification of the close horizon...
Study of the case of very large installation with only one isolated pyranometer.

    15:45-16:00: Break

16:00-16:30: Paul finally decide to monitor his installation with satellite estimations. Constraints, uncertainties and emission of warnings or maintenance operations.

16:30-17:00: A law has been voted, and Paul is now constrainted to plan what he injects in the network. Brief tour of the prediction methods and associated uncertainties. Focus on the MINES ParisTech project DNI cast with hemispherical cameras.

    17:00 Adjourn day 2

Dinner offered by MINES ParisTech at la Storia, Antibes.

Day 3: HelioClim users day - round table

The third day is a day of exchanges between Paul and more widely between all the professionals in solar energy, and the researchers and companies providing products and services to fulfill the requirements of Paul.

09:00-09:15: The HelioClim services are developed by or sustained by the European commission within the framework of the Copernicus program of the European Union, in order to meet the needs of professionals, like Paul and you, in the estimation of solar radiation in solar energy. Pr. Lucien Wald will introduce COPERNICUS, MACC and CAMS projects.  

09:15-10:45: SoDa has a large and heterogeneous audience in the domain of solar radiation and solar energy.
All the services -annual subscriptions, on-delivery services- derived from the HelioClim-3 database will be briefly introduced, as as much opportunities of further developements for HelioClim-4. They will be developed on posters in the catering room.
The SoDa Service welcomes several free services supported by MACC and CAMS. Presentation of McClear and HelioClim-4, which are a response from Europe and the researchers to the requests of the users, such as you and Paul.

    10:45-11:15: Break

From 11:15: Round table
This section is yours! you have the opportunity to :

  • explain your usage of the radiation values
  • list your constraints
  • give your opinion concerning the services provided by MACC and CAMS
  • ask for new developments / improvements
  • give your own recommendations regarding ground or satellite measurements.

    12:30-14:00: lunch (buffet) at Café de Sophia.

From 14:00: Round table, second part.

NB: an idea on the profiles of the attendees will be given soon (SME / Big companies, in /outside Europe, students / consultants / engineers / general managers...)

    16:00 Adjourn day 3

Links - promotion:

News 18 Nov. 2014: the training is advertised on the website of HESPUL:
By the end of Nov. 2014, the training will be also visible in the newsletter of ENERPLAN, "le syndicat des professionnels de l'énergie solaire".