SR05-D1A3-PV pyranometer

SR05-D1A3-PV digital second class pyranometer, alternative for PV reference cell
SR05 pyranometer with ball levelling
thermopile pyranometers replacing PV reference cells
External video URL
What is a pyranometer and how does it work - video

Digital second class pyranometer - alternative for PV reference cell

SR05 series is the most affordable range of pyranometers meeting ISO 9060 requirements. These sensors are ideal for general solar radiation measurements and popular for monitoring PV systems. Model SR05-D1A3–PV is made as a perfect alternative to PV reference cells. It offers the same Modbus interface as the most common PV reference cell model for easy compatibility. Relative to PV reference cells, SR05-D1A3-PV has the advantage of higher stability, independence of the PV cell type or anti-reflection coating, and better availability and price of recalibration.


  • hemispherical solar radiation
ISO 9060:2018 classification
  • spectrally flat Class C pyranometer
IEC 61724-1:2021 compliance
  • Class B
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  • hemispherical solar radiation
ISO 9060:2018 classification
  • spectrally flat Class C pyranometer
IEC 61724-1:2021 compliance
  • Class B
  • PV monitoring commercial and utility scale
  • PV monitoring small sized
  • no
  • 0-1 V
  • Modbus RS-485
Calibration uncertainty
  • <1.8% (k=2)
Calibration traceability
  • to WRR
Spectral range (wavelength)
  • 285 to 3000 ×10⁻³ m
Rated operating temperature range
  • -40 to +80 °C
Standard cable length
  • 3 m
Rated operating voltage
  • 5 to 30 VDC
  • optional ball levelling with / without tube mount
Digital output
  • :
Communication protocol
  • Modbus over 2-wire RS-485
Transmission mode
  • RTU
Baud rates
  • 1200, 2400, 9600, 19200, 38400 and 115200
  • IMT-Solar Si-RS485TC-T-MB; other cells upon request
Analogue output
  • :
Voltage output
  • 0 to 1 V
  • cable lengths: 10, 20 m
  • extension cable with connector pair: 10, 20 m
  • with ball levelling (BL01)
  • with ball levelling and tube mount (for tube diameters 25 – 40 mm) (TMBL01)
  • PMF01 mounting fixture for Plane of Array installation
  • compatibility: SR05-D1A3-PV’s Modbus interface is exchangeable with IMT-Solar Si-RS485TC-T-MB PV reference cell’s interface. Other reference cells upon request.


SR05 pyranometer series seen from above

SR05-D1A3-PV design

SR05 pyranometers employ a thermopile sensor with black coated surface, one dome and an anodised aluminium body with visible bubble level. Optionally the sensor can be delivered with a unique ball levelling mechanism and tube mount or dedicated mounting fixture, for easy installation. SR05-D1A3-PV has an industry standard digital output: Modbus RTU over half-duplex RS-485, that allows multiple sensors to be installed on a single network. In addition, SR05-D1A3-PV has analogue 0-1 V output.

SR05-D1A3-PV with different mounting options

SR05, the preferred solution for commercial scale PV systems

SR05 series is an economical range of ISO 9060 second class pyranometers for measurement of solar radiation received by a plane surface, in W/m² , from a 180 ° field of view angle. SR05 is perfect for predicting generated power and monitoring the overall efficiency of PV power plants. Different mounting options are available, allowing SR05 to be mounted in virtually any situation. The combination of easy installation and its low cost makes SR05 the preferred solution for commercial scale PV systems.

SR05-D1A3-PV pyranometer compatible with PV reference cells

Comparison to silicon PV reference cells

Model SR05-D1A3-PV has a digital output that is identical to the most commonly used photovoltaic reference cell with Modbus over RS-485 output. This allows for easy installation in existing PV monitoring systems, without the need to make major modifications to data logging software, instrument libraries and infrastructure.

Compared to silicon reference cells, pyranometers offer several advantages such as a perfect (cosine) directional response and a flat spectral response over a wide range. Pyranometers therefore measure the maximum available resource and are suitable to act as a reference for all types (for example amorphous, crystalline or thin-film) of photovoltaic cells both with and without anti-reflection coating. See also our Application note pyranometers versus PV reference cells”. Moreover, since the working principle of a pyranometer is different from a solar cell, the pyranometer offers a truly independent measurement of the irradiance.

SR05 pyranometer series

Compliant with IEC 61724-1, class C

IEC 61724-1: Photovoltaic System Performance Monitoring - Guidelines for Measurement, Data Exchange and Analysis – suggests to use pyranometers for PV monitoring; SR05 complies with IEC 61724-1 class C system requirements.

Hukseflux Sensor Manager software

Sensor Manager software

For communication between a PC and SR05-D1A3-PV(‘s), the Hukseflux Sensor Manager software can be used. It is available for download on our website. The software allows the user to quickly configure SR05-D1A3-PV Modbus address and serial communication settings (baud rate, parity and stopbits) and to plot and export data. Also, the digital outputs may be viewed for sensor diagnostics.

SR05-D1A3-PV pyranometer
External video URL

Suggested use

  • replacement of PV reference cells
  • measuring global tilted irradiance (GTI) in the Plane of Array (PoA) of solar panels
  • measuring global horizontal irradiance (GHI)

Frequently asked questions

How does a pyranometer work?

A pyranometer measures the solar radiation received by a plane surface from a 180 ° field of view angle. This quantity, expressed in W/m², is called “hemispherical” solar radiation. The solar radiation spectrum extends roughly from 285 to 3000 x 10⁻⁹ m. By definition a pyranometer should cover that spectral range with a spectral selectivity that is as “flat” as possible.

In an irradiance measurement by definition the response to “beam” radiation varies with the cosine of the angle of incidence; i.e. it should have full response when the solar radiation hits the sensor perpendicularly (normal to the surface, sun at zenith, 0 ° angle of incidence), zero response when the sun is at the horizon (90 ° angle of incidence, 90 ° zenith angle), and 50 % of full response at 60 ° angle of incidence. A pyranometer should have a so-called “directional response” (older documents mention “cosine response”) that is as close as possible to the ideal cosine characteristic.

In order to attain the proper directional and spectral characteristics, a pyranometer's main components are:

•    a thermal sensor with black coating. It has a flat spectrum covering the 200 to 50000 x 10⁻⁹ m range, and has a near-perfect directional response. The coating absorbs all solar radiation and, at the moment of absorption, converts it to heat. The heat flows through the sensor to the sensor body. The thermopile sensor generates a voltage output signal that is proportional to the solar irradiance.

•    a glass dome. This dome limits the spectral range from 285 to 3000 x 10⁻⁹ m (cutting off the part above 3000 x 10⁻⁹ m), while preserving the 180 ° field of view angle. Another function of the dome is that it shields the thermopile sensor from the environment (convection, rain).

•    a second (inner) glass dome: For secondary standard and first class pyranometers, two domes are used, and not one single dome. This construction provides an additional "radiation shield", resulting in a better thermal equilibrium between the sensor and inner dome, compared to using a single dome. The effect of having a second dome is a strong reduction of instrument offsets.

•    a heater: in order to reduce the effect of dew deposition and frost on the outer dome surface, most advanced pyranometers have a built-in heater. The heater is coupled to the sensor body. Heating a pyranometer can generate additional irradiance offset signals, therefore it is recommended to activate the heater only during night-time. Combining a heater with external ventilation makes these heating offsets very low.

Why use a pyranometer?

There are good reasons why pyranometers are the standard for solar radiation measurement in outdoor PV system performance monitoring. 

The purpose of outdoor PV testing is to compare the available resource to system output and thus to determine efficiency. The efficiency estimate serves as an indication of overall performance and stability. It also serves as a reference for remote diagnostics and need for servicing.

The irradiance measurement for outdoor PV performance monitoring is usually carried out with pyranometers. Some standards suggest using PV reference cells. Reference cells are (with some minor exceptions) unsuitable for proof in bankability and in proof of PV system efficiency. Pyranometers are and will remain the standard for outdoor solar energy monitoring.

From a fundamental point of view:

  • Pyranometers measure truly available solar irradiance (so the amount of available resource). This is the parameter you need to have for a true efficiency calculation.
  • Reference cells measure only that part of solar radiation that can be used by cells of identical material and identical packaging (flat window), so the yield of a certain PV cell type. This is not a measurement that can be used in an efficiency calculation and in fact leads to several percentage points error in efficiency estimates.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) and ASTM standards for PV monitoring recommend pyranometers for outdoor PV monitoring. PV reference cells do not meet IEC 61724-1 class A requirements for irradiance measurement uncertainty: their directional response makes them systematically overestimate daily radiant exposure in J/m2 (or W·hr/m2 ) by more than 2 %, larger on hourly basis. 

How do I choose a pyranometer?

Choosing the right pyranometer for your application is not an easy task. We can offer assistance. But first, you should ask yourself the following questions:

  • are there standards for my application?
  • what level of accuracy do I need?
  • what will be the instrument maintenance level?
  • what are the interfacing possibilities?

When discussing with Hukseflux, our recommendation for the best suited pyranometer will be based on:

  • recommended pyranometer class
  • recommended maintenance level
  • estimate of the measurement accuracy
  • recommended calibration policy
  • recommended interface

Pyranometers can be manufactured to different specifications and with different levels of verification and characterisation during production. The ISO 9060 - 1990 standard, “Solar energy - specification and classification of instruments for measuring hemispherical solar and direct solar radiation”, distinguishes between 3 classes; secondary standard (highest accuracy), first class (second highest accuracy) and second class (third highest accuracy). From second class to first class and from first class to secondary standard, the achievable accuracy improves by a factor 2.

The ISO 9060 - 1990 standard is up for revision. The new 2018 version of the standard will be slightly different from the 1990 version. The new version of ISO 9060 includes three instrument accuracy classes A, B and C, and a special extension of every class “Spectrally Flat”, which is recommended for Plane of Array (POA), albedo, and reflected solar measurements.

Our pyranometer selection guide offers practical guidelines for choosing a pyranometer. The application of pyranometers in PV system performance monitoring according to IEC 61724-1 is highlighted as an example. Sensors specific for diffuse radiation and meteorological networks are also addressed in this selection guide.

What is the difference between a pyrheliometer and a pyranometer?

A pyranometer measures hemispherical solar radiation. When measuring in the horizontal plane this is called Global Horizontal Irradiance (GHI). When measuring in “plane of array”, next to PV panels, this is called plane of array POA irradiance.

A pyrheliometer is used to measure Direct Normal Irradiance (DNI). DNI is defined as the solar radiant flux collected by a plane unit surface normal to the axis pointing towards the centre of the sun, within an optical angular aperture. DNI is composed of the solar irradiance within the extent of the solar disk (half-angle 0.266 ° ± 1.7 %) plus some circumsolar radiation.

SR05-D1A3-PV pyranometer
SR05-D1A3-PV digital second class pyranometer, alternative for PV reference cell
  • higher stability than PV reference cells
  • independent of PV cell type
  • affordable calibration
  • register structure and content identical to most common reference cells for easy exchangeability
  • easy implementation and servicing
  • easy mounting and levelling
  • pricing: affordable second class pyranometers
A new version is available now!

This product is not available anymore. View the new version here:SR05-D1A3 pyranometer