A Short-Term Solar Forecasting Platform Using a Physics-Based Smart Persistence Model and Data Imputation Method

Srinath Yelchuri, A. Rangaraj, Yu Xie, Aron Habte, Mohit Joshi, K. Boopathi, Manajit Sengupta, K. Balaraman

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


Electrical energy plays vital role in our socio-economic activity and therefore ensuring the reliability of the electric grid, from the generation, transmission and distribution level is critical. In order to maintain the power system parameter viz., frequency, voltage, etc., optimally, balancing of generation and consumption is very much essential. However, solar energy is infirm power by nature this is due to cloud cover / other local phenomena. Hence, Photovoltaic (PV) power generation brings a significant challenge to the grid operator due to the variability of the solar energy. The complexity of this challenge in terms of planning and dispatch ability of PV resources, aggravates with the high penetration of solar energy into the electric grid. In this setting, reliable solar radiation forecasting models based on accurate and quality input data become essential. In order to develop a suitable model for predicting solar radiation, quality historical / real time measurement is also needed. Under this study NIWE and NREL jointly developed / tested short-term solar forecasting frameworks using a smart persistence and physics-based smart persistence models for intra-hour forecasting of solar radiation (PSPI) and benchmarked 9 different data imputation techniques in 15 Solar Radiation Resource Assessment (SRRA) stations, located at different parts of India. During any measurement campaign, due to various technical reasons, we may miss few observations. However, the missing observation often reduce the performance of any forecasting model. Therefore, suitable data imputation method would assist us to obtain continuous observation of solar radiation. A station-by-station and method-by-method analysis was carried out to understand the performance of each model. Based on our analysis, among all the data imputation methods, the Kalman data imputation method is better for Indian Weather condition. In addition, Kalman StructTS, Linear, Stine and Arima methods yield slightly inferior accuracy compared to Kalman, but outperform the other methods. The extended solar radiation data are used by solar forecasting models to provide the prediction of solar radiation at 15 SRRA stations. As far as short term forecasting model is concerned, the PSPI model outperforms the Smart Persistence model. However, the forecast error is increases with the forecasting horizon.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages33
StatePublished - 2021

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-5D00-81421


  • forecasting
  • SAGE
  • solar
  • South Asia Group for Energy


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