Solar Irradiance Capturing in Cloudy Sky Days-A Convolutional Neural Network Based Image Regression Approach

Huaiguang Jiang, Yi Gu, Yu Xie, Rui Yang, Yingchen Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus Citations


Global horizontal irradiance (GHI) is a critical index to indicate the output power of the photovaltaic (PV). In traditional approaches, the local GHI can be measured with very expensive instruments, and the large-area GHI collection depends on complex satellite-based models, solargis algorithms, and the high-performance computers (HPC). In this paper, a novel approach is proposed to capture the GHI conveniently and accurately. Considering the nonstationary property of the GHI on cloudy days, the GHI capturing is cast as an image regression problem. In traditional approaches, the image regression problem is treated as two parts, feature extraction (for the images) and regression model (for the regression targets), which are optimized separately and blocked the interconnections. Considering the nonlinear regression capability, a convolutional neural network (CNN) based image regression approach is proposed to provide an End-to-End solution for the cloudy day GHI capturing problem in this paper. The multilayer CNN is based on the AlexNet and VGG. The L2 (least square errors) with regularization is used as the loss function in the regression layer. For data cleaning, the Gaussian mixture model with Bayesian inference is employed to detect and eliminate the anomaly data in a nonparametric manner. The purified data are used as input data for the proposed image regression approach. In the experiments, three-month sky images and GHI data (with 1-min resolution) are provided by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) with the HPC system. The numerical results demonstrate the feasibility and effectiveness of the proposed approach.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number8970273
Pages (from-to)22235-22248
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Access
StatePublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2013 IEEE.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5D00-75849


  • Bayesian theory
  • Convolutional neural network
  • deep learning
  • Dirichlet process
  • global horizontal irradiance
  • image regression
  • sky image
  • solar irradiation
  • variational inference


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