11.2 Integration of Total-Sky Imager Data with a Physics-Based Smart Persistence Model for Intrahour Forecasting of Solar Radiation (PSPI)

Wednesday, 15 January 2020: 11:45 AM
256 (Boston Convention and Exhibition Center)
Andrew Kumler, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, CO; and Y. Xie, Y. Zhang, R. Yang, X. Jin, M. Sengupta, and Y. Liu

Short-term solar forecasting models based solely on global horizontal irradiance (GHI) measurements are often unable to discriminate the forecasting of the factors affecting GHI from those that can be precisely computed by atmospheric models. Our previous study introduced a Physics-based Smart Persistence model for Intra-hour forecasting of solar radiation (PSPI) that decomposed the forecasting of GHI into the computation of extraterrestrial solar radiation and solar zenith angle and the forecasting of cloud albedo and cloud fraction. The extraterrestrial solar radiation and solar zenith angle were accurately computed by the Solar Position Algorithm (SPA) developed at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). A cloud retrieval technique was used to estimate cloud albedo and cloud fraction from surface-based observations of GHI. With the assumption of persistent cloud structures, the cloud albedo and cloud fraction were predicted for future time steps using a two-stream approximation and a 5-minute exponential weighted moving average, respectively. The model evaluation indicated the estimation and forecast of cloud fraction mostly contributed to the uncertainty of the PSPI though it overcame the persistence and smart persistence models in all forecast time horizons between 5 and 60 minutes. This study aims to enhance the PSPI by ingesting surface-based observations of cloud fraction from a total sky imager (TSI). The estimation and forecast of cloud albedo is correspondingly improved by utilizing the cloud fraction observations and thus leads to more accurate GHI forecast. Various time-series analysis methods are also investigated on the forecasting of cloud fraction and cloud albedo for further improving the GHI forecast. These improvements are valuable for many applications, such as forecasting energy use for buildings, grid operations, and ultimately bringing down the cost of solar energy.
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