Solar Energy, Vol.215, 252-265, 2021
Use of physics to improve solar forecast: Physics-informed persistence models for simultaneously forecasting GHI, DNI, and DHI
Observation-based statistical models have been widely used in forecasting solar energy; however, existing models often lack a clear relation to physics and are limited largely to global horizontal irradiance (GHI) forecasts over relatively short time horizons (<1 h). Incorporating physics into observation-based models, increasing forecast time horizons and developing a model system for forecasting not only GHI but also direct normal irradiance (DNI) and diffuse horizontal irradiance (DHI) remain challenging, especially under cloudy conditions because of complex cloud-radiation interactions. This work attempts to address these challenges by developing a hierarchy of four new physics-informed persistence models that can be used to simultaneously forecast GHI, DNI and DHI. The decade-long measurements (1998 to 2014) at the U.S. Department of Energy's Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM)'s Southern Great Plains (SGP) Central Facility site are used to evaluate the performance of the new models. The results show that the new physics-informed forecast models generally outperform the simple and smart persistence models, and improve the forecast accuracy at lead times from 1.25 h up to 6 h. Further analysis reveals that the forecast error is highly related to the error and temporal variability of the assumed cloud predictor. The best model for forecasting different radiative components can be explained by the relationship between solar irradiances and cloud properties.