10 June 2019

Solar Power Forecasting: what it is and how to do it

Solar power forecasting is at its core a weather forecasting problem. It starts with modeling of the Sun's position with respect to a given location at the Earth's surface, before then modeling the transmittance of solar radiation through the Earth's atmosphere.

What is solar power forecasting?

Solar power forecasting is at its core a weather forecasting problem. It starts with modeling of the Sun’s position with respect to a given location at the Earth’s surface, before then modeling the transmittance of solar radiation through the Earth’s atmosphere. Finally, with accurate estimates of the solar radiation availability, power modelling software are used to generate predictions of the energy generation from a given solar facility.



How are solar power forecasts created?

The most challenging aspect of modeling the transmittance of solar radiation through the Earth’s atmosphere is correctly capturing the scattering, absorption and reflection processes of sunlight passing through cloud cover.

Solar forecasts are generated through three primary categories, which are loosely organised by the forecasting time horizons they enable. These are:

  1. Statistical techniques
  2. Satellite imagery approaches
  3. Numerical Weather Prediction (weather models)



Helpful resources about solar forecasting

How can you access solar forecasting technology?

Solcast is on a mission to make it incredibly easy for anyone, anywhere in the world to access solar forecasting technology. We’ve deployed a global, rapid update solar forecasting system based on the latest satellite imagery and made it all accessible via an API framework.

We’ve even made these technologies FREE to access for researchers and hobbyists, with free trials available for commercial users. You can get started with solar forecasting technology in just minutes by registering for the Solcast API Toolkit.

Blog Author

Dr. Nick Engerer

Dr. Nick Engerer

Solcast CTO

Nick is an expert in the field of solar radiation and distributed solar PV modelling, and has co-founded Solcast out of a sincere desire to enable others to build the solar-powered future.

Read more about Dr. Engerer’s scientific papers

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