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Vectorized Solar Azimuth and Elevation Estimation


Darin Koblick


20 Feb 2009 (Updated )

Predict the topocentric solar position defined by geodetic lat, lon, Alt, and a universal time

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Predict the azimuth and elevation of the Sun within +/- 1 degree at any geodetic latitude, longitude and altitude. Due to popular demand, this routine has been vectorized for speed.

Function Call: [Az El] = SolarAzEl('2008/02/18 13:10:00',60,15,0)

Input List:
UTC Date and Time - Use format YYYY/MM/DD hh:mm:ss or MATLAB date vector dimensions can be [N x 1]
Latitude - Site Latitude in degrees -90:90 -> S(-) N(+) dimensions can be [N x 1]
Longitude - Site Longitude in degrees -180:180 W(-) E(+) dimensions can be [N x 1]
Altitude - Site Altitude in km dimensions can be [N x 1]
Output List:
Az - Solar Azimuth angle in degrees [N x 1]
El - Solar Elevation/Altitude Angle in degrees [N x 1]


This file inspired Right Ascension/Declination To Azimuth/Elevation and Spot Solar Panel Orientation Toolbox.

MATLAB release MATLAB 7.7 (R2008b)
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Comments and Ratings (3)
08 Apr 2013 Per


Very useful function. With a few updates it can handle vector time input. I would prefer the use of matlab UTC time input in order to speed up.

27 Aug 2009 Phil


Ropey when using vector times: (line 36 generates a vector eccentricity: line 42 then requires an edit to force array multiply not matrix multiply). Still unable to get vector time version to agree with loop version....
As Mr. Picky, I would prefer time argin to be Matlab datenum, not string.
HOWEVER, this is the only code I've found that gives Azimuth round the full 360: most are 0-180 and it's up to you to find if its in the east or west... due to using code like

19 Mar 2009 Anthony Kendall

Anthony Kendall

Excellent function, it's fast, compact, and easily modified for my particular needs. Thank you very much! BTW, I compared it with sun position tables, (http://www.srrb.noaa.gov/highlights/sunrise/azel.html) and it does very well.

18 Apr 2013

Vectorized routine. Added the ability to take either UTC time string, or an array of MATLAB date vectors.

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