Image Phase Shift Invariance Based Cloud Motion Displacement Vector Calculation Method for Ultra-Short-Term Solar PV Power Forecasting

Brian Hodge, Fei Wang, Zhao Zhen, Chun Liu, Zengqiang Mi, Miadreza Shafie-khah, Joao Catalao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

121 Scopus Citations


Irradiance received on the earth's surface is the main factor that affects the output power of solar PV plants, and is chiefly determined by the cloud distribution seen in a ground-based sky image at the corresponding moment in time. It is the foundation for those linear extrapolation-based ultra-short-term solar PV power forecasting approaches to obtain the cloud distribution in future sky images from the accurate calculation of cloud motion displacement vectors (CMDVs) by using historical sky images. Theoretically, the CMDV can be obtained from the coordinate of the peak pulse calculated from a Fourier phase correlation theory (FPCT) method through the frequency domain information of sky images. The peak pulse is significant and unique only when the cloud deformation between two consecutive sky images is slight enough, which is likely possible for a very short time interval (such as 1 min or shorter) with common changes in the speed of cloud. Sometimes, there will be more than one pulse with similar values when the deformation of the clouds between two consecutive sky images is comparatively obvious under fast changing cloud speeds. This would probably lead to significant errors if the CMDVs were still only obtained from the single coordinate of the peak value pulse. However, the deformation estimation of clouds between two images and its influence on FPCT-based CMDV calculations are terrifically complex and difficult because the motion of clouds is complicated to describe and model. Therefore, to improve the accuracy and reliability under these circumstances in a simple manner, an image-phase-shift-invariance (IPSI) based CMDV calculation method using FPCT is proposed for minute time scale solar power forecasting. First, multiple different CMDVs are calculated from the corresponding consecutive images pairs obtained through different synchronous rotation angles compared to the original images by using the FPCT method. Second, the final CMDV is generated from all of the calculated CMDVs through a centroid iteration strategy based on its density and distance distribution. Third, the influence of different rotation angle resolution on the final CMDV is analyzed as a means of parameter estimation. Simulations under various scenarios including both thick and thin clouds conditions indicated that the proposed IPSI-based CMDV calculation method using FPCT is more accurate and reliable than the original FPCT method, optimal flow (OF) method, and particle image velocimetry (PIV) method.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)123-135
Number of pages13
JournalEnergy Conversion and Management
StatePublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier Ltd

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5D00-70164


  • Cloud motion displacement vector
  • Fourier transform
  • Phase correlation
  • Sky image
  • Solar forecasting


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