Various standards and guides exist to facilitate quality, standards-based observations of the various solar and terrestrial irradiance parameters. The International Organization for Standardization released a number of documents in the 1990s related to the design and operation of irradiance measurement instrumentation. A more recent, widely adopted reference is the Guide to Meteorological Instruments and Methods of Observation produced by the World Meteorological Organization, which specifies the performance characteristics recommended for instruments to undertake various observational roles.
A summary of the operating characteristics of pyranometers has been reproduced from this guide in Table Pyranometer-class below. Similar tables along with supporting text are included in the document for other instruments.
While instrumentation is an important component, and often the prime focus of solar resource monitoring, adoption of standards and best practice is required at all stages of the process if traceable, quality solar data are to result. Guides and/or standards have been produced which cover areas including site selection and instrument exposure, observational practices, calibration and maintenance, production, maintenance and distribution of metadata, and the estimation of the uncertainty association with the observational data.