Global Solar Irradiance Data via API

TitleGlobal Solar Irradiance Data via API
Brief TitleGlobal Solar Irradiance Data
Collection TypeDataset
Access PrivilegesFenner School of Environment & Society
DOI - Digital Object Identifier10.25911/5c073e713e5dd
Website Address
Metadata LanguageEnglish
Data LanguageEnglish
Significance StatementSolar irradiance (global solar radiation) data over all major continents, real-time and historical.
Brief DescriptionProduced by commercial entity Solcast, through support from ANU technologies built by Dr. Nick Engerer's research group at the Fenner School of Environment and Society via Australian Renewable Energy Agency Funding. Satellite data, along with information from weather models, is used to create an estimate of available solar radiation at the Earth's surface.
Full DescriptionData are produced in the following way. Firstly, satellite imagery is taken from the 3rd generation weather satellites (5x in total globally, including the Himawari 8 satellite over Australia). The images have a scan duration of 10-15 mins and are provided
for 16 bands, each with a different scanning wavelength of outgoing terrestrial radiation. The model applied utilises the visible (band 3) and infrared (band 13) images. The images extracted, and re-project spatially, including for parallax errors. The radiation modelling begins with the visible and IR images from the satellites with
pixel size resolution of 1-2 km^2. Solar irradiance is derived following the general principles of the Heliosat-2 methodology. Clouds are decomposed into lower, middle and upper troposphere layers as separated by cloud top temperatures that are inferred through utilisation of the IR image identified cloud-top height and numerical weather model isobaric temperatures obtained from the Global Forecast System (GFS) deterministic model. Total cloudiness is derived through aggregation of the three cloud layers. Total cloud opacity (represented as an index between 0 and 1) is then derived using albedo differences between the lowest visible return value of albedo recorded for each pixel and a continuous running 50 day sample that is updated daily. Derived cloud opacity is then applied as a linear reduction to the Esra clear sky radiation model to produce an estimate of GHI (Global Horizontal Irradiance) at each pixel. The selection of the Esra model was based upon validation against a selection of clear sky radiation models in Australia [20]. Estimates of GHI are then decomposed into direct normal irradiance (DNI) and diffuse horizontal irradiance (DIF) through the Engerer2 separation model. Data are updated live on an AWS based platform and can be extracted via a free API account, available at the project webpage (
Contact AddressFenner School of Environment and Society
College of Science
Frank Fenner Building #141
The Australian National University
Acton ACT 2601
Contact Phone Number+61 2 6125 1658
Principal InvestigatorDr Nick Engerer
SupervisorsDr Nick Engerer
Fields of Research090608 - Renewable Power and Energy Systems Engineering (excl. Solar Cells)
Socio-Economic Objective9602 - Atmosphere and Weather
Keywordssolar radiation
solar irradiance
atmospheric radiation
solar energy
solar forecasting
Type of Research ActivityApplied Research
Date Coverage
Date FromDate To
Geospatial Location
Location TypeLocation Value
TextAll Major Continents
Date of data creation2016-06-01
Year of data publication2018
Creator(s) for Citation
Given NameSurname
Publisher for CitationThe Australian National University Data Commons
Related Websites
URLTitle API Data Access
Access Rights TypeConditional
Rights held in and over the data
Licence TypeCC-BY-NC-ND - Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDervis (Version 3.0)
Data Location
Retention PeriodIndefinitely
Extent or Quantity1
Status: Published
Published To:
- Australian National University
- Australian National Data Service
Identifier: anudc:5897
Related Items


  • Files: 1
  • Size: 11.7 KB

Data Files

Updated:  07 February 2019/ Responsible Officer:  University Librarian/ Page Contact:  Library Systems & Web Coordinator