Due to forward scattering of direct sunlight in the atmosphere, the circumsolar region closely surrounding the solar disk looks very bright. The radiation coming from this region, the circumsolar radiation, is in large part included in common direct normal irradiance (DNI) measurements, but only partially intercepted by the receivers of focusing collectors. This effect has to be considered in the performance analysis of concentrating collectors in order to avoid overestimation of the intercepted irradiance. At times, the overestimation reaches more than 10% for highly concentrating systems even for sky conditions with relevant DNI above 200 W/m2. The amount of circumsolar radiation varies strongly with time, location and sky conditions. However, no representative sunshape measurements exist for locations that are now of particular interest for concentrating solar power (CSP) or concentrating photovoltaics (CPV). A new sunshape measurement system is developed and analyzed in this study. The system consists of the sun and aureole measurement instrument (SAM), an AERONET sun photometer and postprocessing software. A measurement network is being created with the presented system. The uncertainty of this system is significantly lower than what was obtained with previous devices. In addition, the spectral optical properties of circumsolar radiation are determined. As a result, the necessary information for CSP and CPV systems, and a basis for the development of modeling methods for circumsolar radiation, can now be achieved.

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