The accurate estimation of direct normal irradiance (DNI) under clear sky conditions plays an important role in the concentrated solar thermal plant. A hybrid model with adjustable inputs is proposed to calculate the clear-sky DNI, including a base clear-sky model and an error-correction model. The base clear-sky model is able to estimate the clear-sky DNI at any place with only the local date and location information, and the error-correction model serves as a supplementary to improve the calculating accuracy with available meteorological data. The error-correction model effectively integrates a linear part and a nonlinear part, and its inputs are adjustable according to the available meteorological observations. Several experiments have been conducted to evaluate the performance of the proposed model with data from three observation stations provided by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory open database. The results show that the hybrid model is able to provide great improvement over the base clear-sky model with 28%–70% on normalized root mean square error, and it also performs better than those using a linear or nonlinear error correction model. It is concluded that the performance of the hybrid model is comparable with other published methods in calculating the clear-sky DNI with concrete statistics.

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