Many applications in space weather and in space situational awareness require continuous solar spectral irradiance measurements in the UV, and to a lesser degree in the visible band. Most space-borne solar radiometers are made out of two different parts: (i) a front filter that selects the passband and (ii) a detector that is usually based on silicon technology. Both are prone to degradation, which may be caused either by the degradation of the filter coating due to local deposition or to structural changes, or by the degradation of the silicon detector by solar radiative and energetic particle fluxes. In this study, we provide a theoretical analysis of the filter degradation that is caused by structural changes such as pinholes; contamination-induced degradation will not be considered. We then propose a new instrumental concept, which is expected to overcome, at least partially, these problems. We show how most of the solar UV spectrum can be reconstructed from the measurement of only five spectral bands. This instrumental concept outperforms present spectrometers in terms of degradation. This new concept in addition overcomes the need for silicon-based detectors, which are replaced by wide band gap material detectors. Front filters, which can contribute to in-flight degradation, therefore are not required, except for the extreme-UV (EUV) range. With a small weight and a low telemetry, this concept may also have applications in solar physics, in astrophysics and in planetology.