Blog: Visit to Lanzhou, China

Blog: Visit to Lanzhou, Chinaarticle picture
Published: Tuesday, May 10, 2016 In February this year I visited the University of Lanzhou in China. They have a large number of Kipp & Zonen pyranometers and several sun tracker solar monitoring stations. The university purchased a CFR calibration facility and CMP21 reference instrument so that they can calibrate field pyranometers themselves. In charge of the equipment is Doctor Jianrong Bi of the College of Atmospheric Sciences.

The purpose of the visit was to install and commission the facility and to provide training on the installation, maintenance and calibration of pyranometers. I was ably assisted by Shiqi Ren from our distributor Beijing Techno Solutions Ltd. and his colleagues from the BTS office in Lanzhou.

Where is Lanzhou?

It is the capital of Gansu Province in Northwest China about 1500 km west of Beijing with a population of over 3 million people, and is the only major city on the Yellow River. It lies on the ancient Silk Road trading route and has a large Muslim community.

The area is a high plateau at about 1500m and is a temperate zone with a semi-arid climate. During the winter and spring there is almost no rain and the land is very dry and sandy with a lot of dust storms coming from the Gobi Desert.   

Installing the calibration facility

Installation of the CFR

The main campus is in downtown Lanzhou and is a research centre that includes ecology and climate studies. There is a dedicated climate controlled laboratory for solar radiation equipment on the 19th floor of the main science building. A part of this was curtained off to make a dark-room area for the calibration facility.

The training was a mixture of presentations in a conference room and hands-on working with the calibration facility. Eleven people completed the course and received certificates. 


The Semi-Arid Climate & Environment Observatory of Lanzhou University (SACOL) is located in the mountains about one hour’s drive from the city. After the training was completed, Jianrong Bi and a colleague took Shiqi Ren and I to visit the site which has an impressive range of measurement equipment, including from Kipp & Zonen. 

It is an objective that the observatory should join the Baseline Surface Radiation Network (BSRN) in the future and I was able to provide advice about the process and requirements.


I would like to thank Jianrong Bi and his colleagues for their enthusiasm and hospitality during my visit to Lanzhou. Maybe next time I can get to see the camels and sand dunes!

With Shiqi Ren, Jianrong Bi and colleague at SACOL  
With Shiqi Ren, Jianrong Bi and colleague at SACOL


Blog written by Clive Lee, Customer Services Specialist at Kipp & Zonen's head office in Delft. 

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