Irradiance Forecasting for the Power Prediction of Grid-Connected Photovoltaic Systems

Elke Lorenz, Johannes Hurka, Detlev Heinemann, Hans Georg Beyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

608 Citations (Scopus)


The contribution of power production by photovoltaic (PV) systems to the electricity supply is constantly increasing. An efficient use of the fluctuating solar power production will highly benefit from forecast information on the expected power production. This forecast information is necessary for the management of the electricity grids and for solar energy trading. This paper presents an approach to predict regional PV power output based on forecasts up to three days ahead provided by the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF). Focus of the paper is the description and evaluation of the approach of irradiance forecasting, which is the basis for PV power prediction. One day-ahead irradiance forecasts for single stations in Germany show a rRMSE of 36%. For regional forecasts, forecast accuracy is increasing in dependency on the size of the region. For the complete area of Germany, the rRMSE amounts to 13%. Besides the forecast accuracy, also the specification of the forecast uncertainty is an important issue for an effective application. We present and evaluate an approach to derive weather specific prediction intervals for irradiance forecasts. The accuracy of PV power prediction is investigated in a case study. © 2009, The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2-10
Number of pages9
JournalIEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Applied Earth Observations and Remote Sensing
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • Forecasting
  • photovoltaic power systems
  • power generation meteorological factors
  • solar radiation


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