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Sun Position - High accuracy solar position algorithms - a resource for programmers and solar energy engineers (VB-2012 Programming by Example) [Kindle Edition]

John Clark Craig
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Solar book containing Solar Energy Algorithms
Updated for VB-2012



Knowing how to calculate the sun's position in the sky with very high accuracy is at the core of just about all solar energy research, and why this programmer wrote this solar book. Whether for site planning, or real time aiming of the most sophisticated concentrating receivers, heliostats, and photovoltaic tracking systems. Sun Position's Visual Basic algorithms meet that core need.

About John Clark Craig


The author, John Clark Craig, programmed all the field control and data acquisition for several of the world's largest solar energy projects in the 1980's. Projects included the square-mile two-axis concentrating photovoltaic trackers at Carrissa Plains, California, the large Hesperia, California field of flat two-axis photovoltaic trackers, an enhanced oil recovery project using a field of heliostats and a central thermal receiver tower near Taft, California, and a variety of research and development projects at Sandia Labs, Solar 1 at Barstow, the Weizmann Institute, Tennessee Valley Authority, and elsewhere around the world. While developing software systems for these projects, John was constantly looking for the best algorithms and improved code for determining accurate sun position. Most of the available documentation in other solar books of various types was not easy to use, with bits and pieces of algorithms here and there, mixed in with poorly explained terminology, and with very little guidance for translating to programming languages he was required to use. Sun Position is the solar book he wishes he had when he really needed it!

Two algorithms are presented for calculating sun position. The first algorithm is of "low accuracy", determining the sun's position with a maximum error of about 0.02 degrees. The second algorithm is much more involved, but it provides a "high accuracy" sun position with a maximum error of about 0.00003 degrees. This is the code to use if you need the absolute best accuracy for heliostats and critically aimed solar concentrators of all types.

All of the Visual Basic source code in this solar book provides working example results for variables at every step of the way. This is the critical piece that makes this book a valuable resource for translating to any other programming language.

Read a free preview of this Solar book by clicking the cover of Sun Position



Editorial Reviews

About the Author

John Clark Craig, author of many computer programming books for Microsoft, has also programmed solar algorithms for several of the world's largest solar energy projects, located all over the world. While developing control and monitoring software systems for these projects, John constantly searched for the best algorithms and improved code for determining accurate sun position. Most of the available documentation was not easy to use, with bits and pieces of algorithms here and there, mixed in with poorly explained terminology, and with very little guidance for translating to other programming languages. John vowed to write Sun Position as the reference book he wished he had all along, with easy to read and easy to translate code, check points, validation test cases and debugging help.

Product Details

  • File Size: 721 KB
  • Print Length: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Books To Believe In (November 20, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005AJ93F4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #657,433 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sun Position review August 18, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
"This book is an important addition to the literature on calculating the position of the sun at any position on earth at any time. Mr. Craig gives much credit to Jean Meeus's book "Astronomical Algorithms", a well known text on the subject. The two books are complementary in many ways, and I recommend both to anyone who needs to calculate sun position to any degree of accuracy. Essentially, Mr. Craig has simplified the rather complex sun position algorithms in Meeus's book into a set of Visual Basic programs. The book's simpler but lower accuracy algorithm is adequate for almost all solar energy applications and the higher accuracy algorithm is state of the art. When I wrote the sun position algorithm for my company five years ago, I used several reference sources, and certainly would have saved many hours if this book had been available. Bruce Rohr, President, Practical Solar, Inc., Boston, MA"
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Little Mistake is a Big Problem August 17, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
John's book is crazy detailed ... and crazy important. If you are building a solar array, it's pretty important to point it at the Sun. However, the Sun is a moving target and that movement is insanely complex. You can figure it out for yourself ... and be wrong or let John Craig tell you how to do it. It's your choice. By the way, he gives you two choices ... the easy way that is incredibly accurate or the hard way which is so accurate that it's fun just to see how he does it. In either case, this is the definitive work on solar tracking software. Bravo to John and now ... go get a life!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Sun Position" Demystifies Tracking the Sun August 3, 2011
Format:Perfect Paperback
Whether you are a new comer or an experienced professional, if you are interested in tracking the sun, John Clark Craig provides the basics and the programming for doing so in his new book, "Sun Position". What I especially like about this short book is that it includes the actual code for two algorithms in the text: high accuracy (3 x 10-5) and low accuracy (2 x 10-2) degrees for determining sun positions. Internet references for the codes are also provided and make it easy to copy onto a screen or document thereby reducing the potential for typing error.

Craig follows up by providing step by step examples of each calculation into a Visual Basic program. Additional information is provided on setting up Visual Basic Express, and some common debugging tips are also included. This book is a sun-tracker's resource! It is a must-have for anyone working in solar energy, meteorology, atmospheric sciences or other related fields.

Vi Brown, Principal & CEO, Prophecy Consulting Group, LLC, Mesa, AZ
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Good text, but poor code publication January 1, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
I have just finished reading and downloading the code for this publication. I have not (as yet) had a chance to verify the code and its calculations, but the text (and the author's experience) suggest that the algorithms will work correctly.

While the text is dry (as one would expect from such a technical subject) the biggest flaw, and why I rated this publication as I did, is that the author doesn't provide the code as a single package. He has the code broken into snippets and requires that the user/reader copy and paste those snippets (using individual url's) separately to create locally runnable copies. While the first half dozen snippets were merely annoying, the next dozen or so were just infuriating.

I assume that the author had a reason for such ridiculous behavior, but for the life of me I can't fathom what it would be.
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More About the Author

John Clark Craig has authored more than a dozen successful computer programming books for Microsoft Press and O'Reilly Media. John has also enjoyed working as a software engineer on many world-class solar and wind energy projects. Two of his projects were featured on the covers of Scientific American and Popular Science magazines. He's also the award-winning inventor of LucidLights and LucidBrakes, brilliant LED-based products you'll be seeing soon in stadiums and events, and helping to make bicycles safer world-wide.

John and his wife EJ co-authored Secrets to Creating Passive Income, the best selling book that's helping people help themselves by cashing in on the hundreds of opportunities around us all, just waiting to be tapped in to! John passionately wants to help everyone discover that they can actually do the things they love while collecting passive income.

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