TwInSolar partners are happy to share with you the latest publication related to the project: “Probabilistic Solar Forecasts as a Binary Event Using a Sky Camera”, published in Open Access Energies.

Written by Mathieu David, Josselin Le Gal La Salle, Philippe Lauret (PIMENT, University of La Reunion, France) and Joaquín Alonso-Montesinos (Department of Chemistry and Physics, University of Almería and CIESOL, Joint Center of the University of Almería, Spain), this article explores the following questions:


With the fast increase of solar energy plants, a high-quality short-term forecast is required to smoothly integrate their production in the electricity grids. Usually, forecasting systems predict the future solar energy as a continuous variable. But for particular applications, such as concentrated solar plants with tracking devices, the operator needs to anticipate the achievement of a solar irradiance threshold to start or stop their system. In this case, binary forecasts are more relevant. Moreover, while most forecasting systems are deterministic, the probabilistic approach provides additional information about their inherent uncertainty that is essential for decision-making. The objective of this work is to propose a methodology to generate probabilistic solar forecasts as a binary event for very short-term horizons between 1 and 30 min. Among the various techniques developed to predict the solar potential for the next few minutes, sky imagery is one of the most promising. Therefore, we propose in this work to combine a state-of-the-art model based on a sky camera and a discrete choice model to predict the probability of an irradiance threshold suitable for plant operators. Two well-known parametric discrete choice models, logit and probit models, and a machine learning technique, random forest, were tested to post-process the deterministic forecast derived from sky images. All three models significantly improve the quality of the original deterministic forecast. However, random forest gives the best results and especially provides reliable probability predictions.