This paper presents the characterization of global solar radiation (GSR) for Malawi using NASA’s SSE model. The mean monthly daily GSR monthly variation in the three regions of Malawi has been investigated. It has been found that there is a general gradient in GSR in the north-south direction. This gradient correlates well with the variation of the clearness index in the same direction (r = 0.986). It has been observed that the GSR is characteristic of each region. Simple analytic polynomials have been proposed for estimating solar radiation in the traditional Northern, Central and Southern regions of Malawi. There is a strong agreement between the polynomials and the SSE model with R2 values of 0.988, 0.989 and 0.989 and root mean square errors of 0.061, 0.057 and 0.062 kWh/m2.day for the regions, respectively.
Key words: Malawi, global solar radiation, solar climate, surface meteorology and solar energy (SSE) model.