Ameera M Almarzooqi, Maher Maalouf, Tarek H M El-Fouly, Vasileios E Katzourakis, Mohamed S El Moursi, Constantinos V Chrysikopoulos

A hybrid machine-learning model for solar irradiance forecasting

  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Engineering

Abstract Nowcasting and forecasting solar irradiance are vital for the optimal prediction of grid-connected solar photovoltaic (PV) power plants. These plants face operational challenges and scheduling dispatch difficulties due to the fluctuating nature of their power output. As the generation capacity within the electric grid increases, accurately predicting this output becomes increasingly essential, especially given the random and non-linear characteristics of solar irradiance under variable weather conditions. This study presents a novel prediction method for solar irradiance, which is directly in correlation with PV power output, targeting both short-term and medium-term forecast horizons. Our proposed hybrid framework employs a fast trainable statistical learning technique based on the truncated-regularized kernel ridge regression model. The proposed method excels in forecasting solar irradiance, especially during highly intermittent weather periods. A key strength of our model is the incorporation of multiple historical weather parameters as inputs to generate accurate predictions of future solar irradiance values in its scalable framework. We evaluated the performance of our model using data sets from both cloudy and sunny days in Seattle and Medford, USA and compared it against three forecasting models: persistence, modified 24-hour persistence and least squares. Based on three widely accepted statistical performance metrics (root mean squared error, mean absolute error and coefficient of determination), our hybrid model demonstrated superior predictive accuracy in varying weather conditions and forecast horizons.

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