In line with its National Vision for 2030, Qatar plans to integrate renewable energy sources, solar in particular, to its energy production chain, and an accurate knowledge of the solar resources available at ground level is essential for reliable planning and implementation of any project using solar energy as fuel. The amount of solar radiation that can be harvested on the earth's surface is not simply what is emitted by the sun; the losses due to absorption and scattering in the earth's atmosphere affect the amount and characteristics of the radiation reaching the surface. The global solar radiation (called GHI) reaching a horizontal surface is composed of the radiation coming directly from the sun (DNI) and the diffuse or scattered radiation (DHI); the relative proportions of these components are crucial factors in deciding the type of solar technology more adequate for any region under consideration. QEERI, the Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute, is starting a comprehensive solar resource assessment of Qatar in collaboration with the Qatar Meteorological Department, in which these three components will be measured and studied. To this end, QEERI has been operating in Doha, since December 2012, a high-precision Kipp and Zonen solar monitoring station based on thermoelectric effect sensors. In parallel, a Rotating Shadow-band Radiometer (RSR), based on a different technology (solid-state silicon sensor), is being tested at the same location. An RSR requires less maintenance and power than the Kipp and Zonen station, which might make it suitable for remote site placement, but its performance in Qatar's conditions must be evaluated before using it for high-quality studies. This work presents results of the first two years of data provided by the high-precision station, in order to give a first insight of the solar climate of Qatar, useful in deciding the type of technology most suitable for the country. A study of the field performance of the RSR in determining the three components against the measurements of the Kipp and Zonen station is also presented; this comparison will allow for the calibration and validation of the potential use of the RSR technology for solar resource assessment under Qatar's climate conditions.


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