Weather Service Comparisons


Understand the difference between Solcast and generic weather APIs / services

Generic weather services and APIs

The world is awash with weather data. There are now hundreds of weather service companies and weather APIs, producing data that powers a wide range of mobile apps, advertising, website widgets and other long-standing weather data applications. These services were built for mostly consumer use cases, and mostly using global weather model data that doesn't track and forecast actual clouds and aerosols from satellite. In recent years, many of these services began claiming to have packages tailored to Solar Energy, in addition to various other packages for a wide array of industries including Aviation, Marine, Defense, Retail, and others.

Why Solcast is different

Solcast was founded in 2016, and since then has focused solely on being the data API for Solar Energy, and only Solar Energy. We have relentlessly rolled out a continuous stream of data features and accuracy improvements. Day in, day out, we live and breathe solar energy and real measurement data. Our systems track the world's clouds and aerosols every 5 minutes at 1-2km resolution, spanning from 2007 right through to 14 days ahead. Then we model aerosols, irradiance and terrain effects right down to 90 metre resolution. Our data is in operational commercial use for over 200GW of real solar assets. We are now a part of DNV, which has over 4000 energy experts leading the energy transition.

How Solcast compares

Every time one of our users compares us to one of these generic weather APIs, they seem to find the same thing - the features and accuracy are not even comparable. Since we are asked this question so often, and since weather data can seem similar at first glance, our team has compiled the following comparison, to assist our users in making the most informed decision.

There are too many of these weather services for us to provide individual comparisons to each on every possible metric, so we've listed the key metrics and compared to the group as a whole, to give you a good starting point for your own individual comparison. We hope you find it useful!

DimensionSolcastGeneric weather services/APIs

Company focus

Solar Energy Other Weather Applications
Cloud tracking at 1-2KM Global Resolution
Cloud Tracking at 5-min resolution
0-4 hour nowcast horizon using high-resolution satellite data

Historical forecast archive

Global 90m aerosol tracking and forecasting
Global 1-2km albedo tracking

Data accuracy and validation

DimensionSolcastGeneric weather services/APIs
Accepted as bankable by solar industry

Validated at 100+ sites globally

Independently validated in 10+ publications
RMSE hourly GHI error: Realtime & History3.8%~8%
RMSE hourly GHI error: +1 hour forecasts4.1%~8%

Data Product Features for solar

DimensionSolcastGeneric weather services/APIs
Clear-sky and probabilistic scenarios for irradiance and PV power
Terrain-shading for irradiance and PV power

Snow soiling - Rooftop

Snow soiling - Ground Mounted
User-configurable Advanced PV Power Model