Solar radiation on mars: Tracking photovoltaic array

J. Appelbaum*, D. J. Flood, M. Crutchik

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


A photovoltaic power source for surface-based operation on Mars can offer many advantages. Detailed information on solar radiation characteristics on Mars and the insolation on various types of collector surfaces are necessary for effective design of future planned photovoltaic systems. In this article we present analytical expressions for solar radiation calculation and solar radiation data for single-axis (of various types) and two-axis tracking surfaces and compare the insolation to horizontal and inclined surfaces. For clear skies (low atmospheric dust load) tracking surfaces result in higher insolation than stationary surfaces, whereas for highly dusty atmospheres, the difference is small. The insolation on the different types of stationary and tracking surfaces depends on latitude, season, optical depth of the atmosphere, and the duration of system operation. These insolations have to be compared for each planned mission.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)410-419
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Propulsion and Power
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1996


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