A solar cell on a satellite receives at least 15% more solar energy than an identical solar cell on earth. For example, at noon on July 1 the solar irradiance at Albuquerque, New Mexico, is about 100 milliwatts per square cm if the sun is not blocked by the cloud. Here are some of the chief factors that affect sunlight: 1. Water vapor, ozone and other gases in the atmosphere absorb sunlight.
2. Aerosols are tiny particles and droplets in the atmosphere that can absorb considerable sunlight or scatter it back into space.
3. Clouds are formed from enormous numbers of tiny water droplets or ice crystals. Clouds absorb and scatter light.
4. The tilt of the earth causes sunlight to pass trough more atmosphere during fall, winter and spring.