Quantifying incident solar radiation on a surface is a complex task that requires the knowledge of geometric, geographical, astronomical, physical and meteorological characteristics of the location. The aim of this paper is to analyze the attenuation processes of the solar radiation and to review the scientific works in this field, specifically the analytical models for solar irradiance calculation, as well as to establish an alternative method to compute the magnitude of the overall atmospheric transmittance. Analytical models have been developed since 1940 and they have been improving in precision and complexity. Up until now, the Bird&Hulstrom model is the most complete and accurate of them all. The main disadvantage of this model is that a great number of equations and parameters such as temperature, sunshine hours, humidity, etc. are required. In this paper, a very fast and accurate new method is developed to quantify solar irradiances at any site. The analysis shows that the parameters required are only the type of climate, altitude and state of the atmosphere. This method also allows to quantify the influence of the turbidity degree in both direct and diffuse irradiances. That information is essential to select which solar technologies are suitable in each place. As an application, the new method has been implemented and characterized in Mexico. Solar energy is an abundant resource in Mexico, and there are some studies about the solar energy potential in that country, but the influence of physical and meteorological factors on the solar radiation have not been related. In this study, the meteorological information of 74 weather stations located in different climates of the country were used to determine the parameters required. The results have been validated with experimental data available for different locations.