Live and Forecast Data
Solcast produces worldwide estimates of the available solar radiation and potential PV power output in real-time, as well as forecasts of the expected availability from 5-minutes ahead through the next 7 days.
To do this, we use imagery from five geostationary weather satellites, which take snapshots of the Earth from space every 5-15 minutes, with spatial resolution as fine as 1 kilometer. We process each of these images through geo-coding, quality control and solar irradiance calculation algorithms in a matter of tens of seconds before being ingested into prediction algorithms that forecast where cloud cover will go next. Read more about our inputs and algorithms. This includes the impact of aerosols (dust, smoke, etc) as well as low lying cloud such as fog.
We then deliver these data to our users through a robust and reliable API service through our Live and Forecast data products. Live data is a snapshot of what is happening now (real-time) through the past 7 days. Forecast data is a prediction of what will occur next, starting as little as five-minutes ahead, through 7-days in the future. With every new satellite image, we reproduce our forecast data, using machine learning algorithms that learn which predictions are performing best. We refer to continual refresh of our live and forecast datasets as rapid update.
See the animation below for an example of how we track and forecast the movement of clouds. At left, Solcast’s live cloud opacity measurements over the United Kingdom. At right, an sample ensemble forecast (including data from all 18 nowcasting ensemble members), issued at the start of the animation and reaching out to two hours ahead. Beyond two hours, we blend the signal from various weather models, to produce a forecast that reaches out to +7 days ahead.
The Solcast API
We’ve gone through the significant challenges of producing and operationally delivering this live and forecast data, in order to enable the hard-working folks who are operating and managing solar power assets around the globe. While you read this, Solcast is crunching 600 million forecasts every hour, actively processing 10TB of satellite imagery data per month and managing the operational status of our various live and forecast API services.
The Solcast API Toolkit
Solcast takes on the many challenges of producing live and forecast solar data, so that you don’t have to. And that means making the data as easy to access, validate and integrate as possible, which is made possible through our API Toolkit. We provide instant access to our range of live (estimated actuals) and forecast data products via this web interface, which is free to try. These include direct estimates of global, direct and diffuse solar radiation, as well as PV power output.
Live and Forecast Data Products
Through deep engagement with the solar industry and utilities around the world, the Solcast team has created the following data product categories. Each of these data products are aimed at enabling our customers in their role building the solar powered future. For each, you’ll find a dedicated product page that contains further detail about the specifications and pricing.
We encourage you to use the below data product categories to begin your search for which of them suits you best. Registering for a Commercial user account on the API Toolkit will provide access to each of the data products for testing and validation, and will include clear examples of various API request formats.
Solar Irradiance Data
Forecast and real-time solar irradiance and weather data with global coverage and built-in accuracy reporting
Solar power forecasting via API with sky camera integration. Includes access to our high resolution solar radiation data.
Rooftop PV Forecasts
Solar power forecasting for installations below 1MW in size. Includes free access for your home PV system.