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Solar Energy Vol. 61, No. 1, pp.

III-IV, 1997
Elsevier Science Ltd. Printed in Great Britain
Pergamon

UNITS AND SYMBOLS IN SOLAR ENERGY

In 1977, a committee of ISES developed a set Pressure


of recommended nomenclature for papers The S.I. unit is the Pascal (Pa = N m-* = kg
appearing in Solar Energy. This is a condensed m-l s-*). The unit kg cm-* should not be used.
and revised version of those recommendations. It is sometimes practical to use 10’ Pa= 1 bar=
The original appeared in Solar Energy 21,61-68 0.1 MPa. The atmosphere (1 atm = 101.325 kPa)
( 1978). Copies of complete recommendations and the bar, if used, should be in parenthesis,
are available from the editorial offices. after the unit has been first expressed in Pascals,
e.g. 1.23 x lo6 Pa (12.3 atm). Manometric pres-
1. UNITS sures in meters or millimeters are acceptable if
one is reporting raw experimental results; other-
The use of S.I. (Systeme International wise they should be converted to Pa.
d’unites) in Solar Energy papers is mandatory.
The following is a discussion of the various S.I. ve/elocity
units relevant to solar energy applications. Velocity is measured in m s-l. Popular units
such as km h-r may be in parentheses afterward.
Energy
Volume
The S.I. unit is the joule (J = kg m* s-*). The
calorie and derivatives, such as the langley Volumes are measured in rnw3 or liters
(cal cm-*), are not acceptable. No distinction is (1 liter = low3 m3). Abbreviations should not be
made between different forms of energy in the used for the liter.
S.I. system so that mechanical, electrical, and
Flow
heat energy are all measured in joules. Although
the watt-hour is used in many countries for In S.I. units, flow should be expressed in kg
commercial metering of electrical energy, its use s-l, m3 s-l, liter s -l. If non-standard units such
is discouraged in scientific and technical papers as liter min-’ or kg h-’ must be used, they
as it is derived from the hour which is not a should be in parentheses afterward.
basic S.I. quantity. Temperature

Power The S.I. unit is the degree Kelvin (K). How-


ever, it is also permissible to express temperatures
The S.I. unit is the watt (W = kg m*
in the degree Celsius (“C). Temperature differ-
sm3 = J s-i). The watt will be used to measure
ences are best expressed in Kelvin (K).
power or energy rate for all forms of energy and
When compound units involving temperature
should be used wherever instantaneous values
are used, they should be expressed in terms of
of energy flow rate are involved. Thus, energy
Kelvin, e.g. specific heat J kg-’ K-‘.
flux density will be expressed as W m-* and
heat transfer coefficient as W m-* K-‘. Energy
rate should not be expressed as J h-‘. 2. NOMENCLATURE AND SYMBOLS
When power is integrated for a time period, Tables l-5 list recommended symbols for
the result is energy that should be expressed in physical quantities. Obviously, historical usage
joules, e.g. an energy rate of 1.2 kW would is of considerable importance in the choice of
produce 1.2 x 3600=4.3 MJ if maintained for names and symbols and attempts have been
1 h. It is preferable to say that made to reflect this fact in the tables. But
Hourly energy = 4.3 MJ conflicts do arise between lists that are derived
from different disciplines. Generally, a firm rec-
rather than ommendation has been made for each quantity,
Energy=4.3 MJ h-‘. except for radiation where two options are given
in Table 5.
Force In the recommendations for material proper-
The S.I. unit is the Newton (N = kg m se*). ties (see Table l), the emission, absorption,
The kilogram weight is not acceptable. reflection, and transmission of radiation by
III
IV Units and Symbols in Solar Energy

Table 1. Recommended symbols for materials properties Table 4. Recommended subscripts

Quantity Symbol Unit Quantity Symbol

Ambient a
Specific heat J kg-’ K-i
Black-body b
Thermal conductivity ;; W m-l K-i
Beam (direct) b
Extinction coefficient’ K m-’
Diffuse (scattered) d
Index of refraction n
Horizontal h
Absorptance a
Incident i
Thermal diffusivity a mz s-l
Normal n
Specific heat ratio Y Outside atmosphere 0
Emittance E
Reflected r
Reflectance P
Density kg rnF3 Solar S
P Solar constant SC
Transmittance 5
Sunrise (sunset) ST, (SS)
Total or global t
+In meteorology the extinction coeficient is the product of
Thermal t, th
K and the path length, and is thus dimensionless.
Useful
Spectral ;
Table 2. Recommended symbols and sign convention for
sun and related angles
Table 5. Recommended symbols for radiation quantities
Range and sign
Quantity Symbol conversion Preferred name Symbol Unit

Altitude 0 to +90 (a) Nonsolar radiation


Radiant energy J

P
Surface tilt ; 0 to f90” ; towards the
equator is +ive Radiant flux W
Azimuth (of surface) y 0 to 360”; clockwise Radiant flux density W m-l
from North is +ive Irradiance E. H Wm-’
Declination 6 0 to k23.45” Radiosity or Radiant
Incidence (on surface) e, i 0 to +90 exitance M. J W me2
Zenith angle 0 to +90° Radiant emissive power
Latitude 0 to k90”; North is (radiant self-exitance) MS,E W me2
5
+ ive Radiant intensity (radiance) L W m-a sr-’
Hour angle w - 180” to + 180”; solar Irradiation or radiant
noon is 0, afternoon exposure H J mm2
is +ive (b) Solar radiation
Reflection Global irradiance or solar
(from surface) r oto +90 flux density G W me2
Beam irradiance Gb W m-r
Diffuse irradianoe Gd W m-’
Table 3. Recommended symbols for Global irradiation H J m-r
miscellaneous quantities Beam irradiation Hb J me2
Diffuse irradiation Hd J me2
Quantity Symbol Unit (c) Atmospheric radiation
Irradiation W mm2
Area m2 Radiosity W m-*
A
Heat transfer coefficient h W m-2 K-’ Exchange W m-’
System mass m kg
Air mass (or air mass factor) M
Mass flow rate kg s-’
Heat ; J
Heat flow rate 0 W
Heat flux
Temperature
4
T :m-2 absorptance a = -
4
Overall heat transfer #i
coefficient u W rnv2 K-i
Efficiency 4
reflectance p = A
Wavelength 1 m
Frequency ” SC’
Stefan-Boltzmann constant o W mm2 Km4
transmittance t=i
4
Time r, r, 8 S

where E and 4 is the radiant flux density that


materials have been described in terms of quan- is involved in the particular process. The double
tities with suffixes “ance” rather than “ivity,” use of a for both absorptance and thermal
which is also sometimes used, depending on the diffusivity is usual, as is the double use of p for
discipline. It is recommended that the suffix both reflectance and density. Neither double use
“ante” be used for the following four quantities: should give much concern in practice.