SR22 pyranometer

SR22 secondary standard pyranometer with quartz domes
SR22 pyranometer with quartz domes
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What is a pyranometer and how does it work - video

Secondary standard pyranometer with quartz domes - extended spectral range

SR22 is a solar radiation sensor of the highest category in the ISO 9060 classification system: secondary standard. On top of the features and benefits of the successful SR20 pyranometer, SR22 has domes made of high-quality quartz, resulting in an extended spectral range. Covering the full solar spectrum, SR22’s extended spectral range potentially offers lower measurement- and calibration uncertainties compared to pyranometers with glass domes. SR22 is typically used in high-accuracy climatological networks.


  • hemispherical solar radiation
ISO 9060:2018 classification
  • spectrally flat Class A pyranometer
IEC 61724-1:2021 compliance
  • Class A (when used with VU01)
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  • hemispherical solar radiation
ISO 9060:2018 classification
  • spectrally flat Class A pyranometer
ISO 9060:1990 classification
  • secondary standard pyranometer
IEC 61724-1:2021 compliance
  • Class A (when used with VU01)
  • National Meteorological Networks
  • meteorology / climatology
  • other
  • yes
Calibration uncertainty
  • < 1.7 % (k = 2)
Zero offset a
  • 5 W/m² unventilated and 2.5 W/m² ventilated
Calibration traceability
  • to WRR
Spectral range
  • 190 to 4000 x 10⁻⁹ m
Spectral selectivity
  • < ± 2 % (0.35 to 1.5 x 10⁻⁶ m)
Sensitivity (nominal)
  • 15 x 10⁻⁶ V/(W/m²)
Rated operating temperature range
  • -40 to +80 °C range
Temperature response
  • < ± 1 % (-10 to +40 °C) and < ± 0.4 % (-30 to +50 °C) with correction in dataprocessing
Temperature response test of individual instrument
  • report included
Directional response test of individual instrument
  • report included to 95 °
Temperature sensor
  • Pt100 or 10 kΩ thermistor
  • 1.5 W at 12 VDC
Standard cable length
  • 5 m
Version order codes
  • SR22-T1, SR22-T2
  • longer cable, in multiples of 5 metres
  • ventilated with VU01 ventilation unit


SR22 pyranometer with quartz domes

Extended spectral range

On top of the features and benefits of SR20 pyranometer, SR22 has an inner and outer dome made of high-quality quartz. This results in SR22’s spectral range of 190 to 4000 x 10-9 m. SR22 covers the full solar spectrum, including the part between 3000 to 4000 x 10-9 m, which is not measured by pyranometers with glass domes.

SR22 secondary standard pyranometer with quartz domes

Measurement accuracy

In order to improve overall measurement accuracy, Hukseflux effectively targeted two major sources of measurement uncertainty: calibration and “zero offset a”. The initial calibration uncertainty is less than 1.7 %. The “zero offset a” specification of SR22 is 5 W/m2 unventilated. Ventilated (with VU01) it is just 2.5 W/m2.

SR22’s low temperature dependence makes it an ideal candidate for use under very cold and very hot conditions. The temperature dependence of every individual instrument is tested and supplied as a second degree polynomial. This information can be used for further reduction of temperature dependence during post-processing.

SR22 pyranometer
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Suggested use

  • scientific climatological observations
  • reference instrument for comparison
  • extreme climates (tropical / polar)

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.

SR22 pyranometer
SR22 secondary standard pyranometer with quartz domes
  • SR22’s spectral range of 190 to 4000 x 10-9 m. SR22 covers the full solar spectrum
  • SR22’s low temperature dependence makes it an ideal candidate for use under very cold and very hot conditions
  • SR22 pyranometer uses a state of the art thermopile sensor with black coated surface
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