A Gridded Solar Irradiance Ensemble Prediction System Based on WRF-Solar EPS and the Analog Ensemble

Stefano Alessandrini, Ju-Hye Kim, Pedro Jimenez, Jimy Dudhia, Jaemo Yang, Manajit Sengupta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus Citations


The WRF-Solar Ensemble Prediction System (WRF-Solar EPS) and a calibration method, the analog ensemble (AnEn), are used to generate calibrated gridded ensemble forecasts of solar irradiance over the contiguous United States (CONUS). Global horizontal irradiance (GHI) and direct normal irradiance (DNI) retrievals, based on geostationary satellites from the National Solar Radiation Database (NSRDB) are used for both calibrating and verifying the day-ahead GHI and DNI predictions (GDIP). A 10-member ensemble of WRF-Solar EPS is run in a re-forecast mode to generate day-ahead GDIP for three years. The AnEn is used to calibrate GDIP at each grid point independently using the NSRDB as the “ground truth”. Performance evaluations of deterministic and probabilistic attributes are carried out over the whole CONUS. The results demonstrate that using the AnEn calibrated ensemble forecast from WRF-Solar EPS contributes to improving the overall quality of the GHI predictions with respect to an AnEn calibrated system based only on the deterministic run of WRF-Solar. In fact, the calibrated WRF-Solar EPS’s mean exhibits a lower bias and RMSE than the calibrated deterministic WRF-Solar. Moreover, using the ensemble mean and spread as predictors for the AnEn allows a more effective calibration than using variables only from the deterministic runs. Finally, it has been shown that the recently introduced algorithm of correction for rare events is of paramount importance to obtain the lowest values of GHI from the calibrated ensemble (WRF-Solar EPS AnEn), qualitatively consistent with those observed from the NSRDB.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number567
Number of pages19
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 by the authors.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5D00-85808


  • analog ensemble
  • ensemble calibration
  • rare events
  • solar irradiance ensemble forecasting


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