The solar constant is calculated by multiplying the sun's surface irradiance by the square of the radius of the sun over the average distance between the Earth and the sun. Irradiance is sometimes referred to as flux and is a measurement of electromagnetic energy from the sun.

The formula for calculating the solar constant is written as So = E(Sun) x (R(Sun) / r)2, where So is the solar constant, E is the irradiance of the sun, R is the radius of the sun and r is the distance between the Earth and the sun, which is the radius of the Earth's orbit. The solar constant is used to calculate solar radiation.