A Stochastic Downscaling Approach for Generating High-Frequency Solar Irradiance Scenarios

Anthony Florita, Brian Hodge, Barry Mather, Wenqi Zhang, William Kleiber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus Citations


Solar power is increasingly cost viable with solar photovoltaic (PV) installations becoming commonplace. PV planning and operational studies, however, require high-frequency solar irradiance scenarios to understand potential electric grid impacts due to the variability and uncertainty of the underlying solar resource. Existing remote sensing solar data products are often available over large spatial domains, but are limited in temporal resolution. For example, the global horizontal irradiance (GHI) component contained within the National Solar Radiation Database (NSRDB) is available at time resolution of 30 min on an approximately four-kilometer grid. In contrast, substantial solar variability is present at finer time scales and this article describes an algorithm to stochastically generate one-minute GHI from widely available sub-hourly NSRDB. A generalized linear modeling (GLM) framework is proposed, which includes non-Gaussian mixtures, and extends the literature involving the synthesis of GHI data. The model is trained on a set of sample locations around Oregon, USA, and validated across the USA using both the Surface Radiation Budget Network (SURFRAD) dataset and Solar Radiation Monitoring Laboratory (SRML) network. Simulated ensembles show good coverage properties and temporal correlation structure. The resulting downscaled ensembles allow for understanding the unpredictable variability inherent in GHI at locations without direct measurements. Future work can leverage the algorithm as part of a stochastic optimization of electric grid operations with high-penetration PV systems.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)370-379
Number of pages10
JournalSolar Energy
StatePublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Elsevier Ltd

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5D00-72667


  • High-resolution
  • Irradiance modeling
  • Non-Gaussian
  • Stochastic


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