Distributed Solar Energy Prediction

Although there has been a substantial, long-term effort by the weather research community to improve precipitation prediction, little attention has been paid to the prediction of clouds and insolation. The need for accurate insolation prediction is growing as the energy industry increases the percentage of distributed and concentrated solar energy. In addition, smart grid initiatives are expanding and the need for accurate forecasts of insolation (and temperature) is growing in parallel.

NCAR’s Joint Numerical Testbed (JNT) has a mission to test and verify the accuracy of weather models for NOAA and the research community. It is well positioned to assess the accuracy of operational and research models in predicting clouds and solar radiation. The results would highlight model skill and would provide valuable feedback to modelers on accuracy deficiencies. The results would be used to improve the models providing better information in the future to solar energy decision makers.