Microalgae cultivation conditions in microplates will differ from large-scale photobioreactors in crucial parameters such as light profile, mixing and gas transfer. Hence volumetric productivity (Pv) measurements made in microplates cannot be directly scaled up. Here we demonstrate that it is possible to use microplates to measure characteristic exponential growth rates and determine the specific growth rate light intensity dependency (μ-I curve), which is useful as the key input for several models that predict Pv. Nannochloropsis salina and Chlorella sorokiniana specific growth rates were measured by repeated batch culture in microplates supplied with continuous light at different intensities. Exponential growth unlimited by gas transfer or self-shading was observable for a period of several days using fluorescence, which is an order of magnitude more sensitive than optical density. The microplate datasets were comparable to similar datasets obtained in photobioreactors and were used an input for the Huesemann model to accurately predict Pv.