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Procedia Computer Science 105 (2017) 256 – 263

2016 IEEE International Symposium on Robotics and Intelligent Sensors, IRIS 2016, 17-20
December 2016, Tokyo, Japan

Next Day Power Forecast Model Using Smart Hybrid Energy


Monitoring System and Meteorological Data
Christine May C. Creaylaa*, Felan Carlo C. Garciaa, Erees Queen B. Macabebea
a
Department of Electronics and Communications Engineering, School of Science and Engineering
Ateneo de Manila University, Quezon City, Philippines

Abstract

The increase in contribution of renewable energy sources into the grid is part of smart grid initiatives. The integration of renewables
such as solar energy into the electrical network is a challenge for grid operators because of its intermittency due to weather
variations. Despite this, the installed capacity of solar PV globally continues to increase. Thus, forecasting is becoming an important
tool for system grid operators to manage solar photovoltaic (PV) energy production and satisfy the demand of energy consumers.
This work aims to develop a forecasting model for solar irradiance that can be used in calculating next-day energy generation of
solar PV systems. Site-specific solar irradiance and meteorological parameters were used as inputs to a machine learning algorithm.
It is shown that the prediction model fits the measured data with a value of R 2 equal to 85.89%. This model was validated through
the measured data of power generation from a hybrid connected solar PV system, installed in Quezon City, Philippines.

© 2016
© 2017 The
TheAuthors.
Authors.Published
Published bybyElsevier B.V.
Elsevier This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license
B.V.
(http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).
Peer-review underresponsibility
Peer-review under responsibilityof of organizing
organizing committee
committee of 2016
of the the 2016
IEEEIEEE International
International Symposium
Symposium on Robotics
on Robotics and Intelligent
and Intelligent
Sensors (IRIS2016).
Sensors(IRIS 2016).

Keywords: Hybrid PV system; Solar Irradiance; Solar Forecassting; Machine Learning;

* Corresponding author. Tel.: +63-917-847-8175


E-mail address: christine.creayla@obf.ateneo.edu

1877-0509 © 2017 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license
(http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).
Peer-review under responsibility of organizing committee of the 2016 IEEE International Symposium on Robotics and Intelligent Sensors(IRIS 2016).
doi:10.1016/j.procs.2017.01.219
Christine May C. Creayla et al. / Procedia Computer Science 105 (2017) 256 – 263 257

1.Introduction

Solar PV system performance is highly variable due to its dependence on meteorological conditions. Thus, grid
integration poses technical challenges for utility operators. Because of the continuous growth in the utilization of solar
energy to produce electricity, it is essential to come up with a more accurate modeling for forecasting of solar
irradiance.
In aide of the integration of PV energy, forecasting methods and techniques have been used. Numerous approach
and algorithms have been considered in forecasting solar radiation and PV power generation from time-series data and
meteorological data. A study by Diagne et al.1 applied time-series data to predict solar power through computation of
the conditional expectation from its present and past samples. Meteorological parameters like sky clearness,
temperature, and relative humidity, were also often used as inputs for prediction of solar power generation as done by
Espinar et al.2.
This study focuses on providing a solution to the problem of generating accurate prediction models of renewable
energy generation using meteorological data for smart homes. This prediction model is for both the grid and individual
smart homes for advanced planning of electricity generation and consumption. Specifically, a forecasting algorithm
called the random forest is used to train a data set of meteorological parameters such as temperature, pressure, relative
humidity, wind speed, wind direction, precipitation and solar irradiance, and correlate them with generation data from
an installed hybrid PV system in Quezon City, Philippines. The effects and influence of the sites’ characteristics on
energy generation capability such as shade from nearby trees and objects helps refine the prediction model.

2.The PV system

A solar cell converts solar energy to electrical energy through photovoltaic effect. It is a process in which two
dissimilar materials in close contact produce an electrical voltage when struck by light. Solar photovoltaic systems
consist of solar PV modules and balance-of-system (BOS), which is typically composed of charge controller, inverter
and batteries for storage, depending on the PV system classification: stand-alone, grid-tied or hybrid systems.
Stand-alone solar PV systems are those that are isolated from the electric distribution grid. These kinds of systems
tend to become feasible in locations which are far from electrical distribution networks. Grid-tied solar PV systems,
on the other hand, are considered as the simplest solar PV design because they are directly coupled to the electric
distribution network and do not need battery storage. The combination of both is considered as a hybrid energy system.
The PV system is connected to the utility grid where the household can draw its electricity if the supply from the PV
modules is insufficient. Also, the system can store excess power in batteries and then draw upon it as needed for
energy stabilization.

3.Solar irradiance and power output

Solar irradiance is the amount of electromagnetic energy incident on a surface per unit time and per unit area. The
intensity of solar radiation is determined by a physical law known as the inverse square law. It includes extraterrestrial
irradiance IO and surface irradiance IS. Extraterrestrial irradiance also known as the upper bound irradiance is
unaffected by weather conditions and the aerosphere but relies on the rotation and revolution of the earth.
Attenuation is present in the transmission process of solar radiation from the upper bound to the Earth’s surface.
The degree of attenuation is related to various factors such as the amount of clouds, cloud formation, cloud thickness,
water vapor, and aerosols of the atmosphere. Therefore, the surface irradiance at a specific location is less than its
extraterrestrial irradiance. The surface irradiance varies randomly and are closely associated to the atmospheric
motion. The difference between IO and IS can reflect the weather conditions, hereinafter referred to as solar irradiance
difference Id = IO - IS. in other words, it means that the change of Id is closely related to the weather conditions. The
weather conditions and other meteorological parameters can reflect the changes of irradiance and can be considered
as an input of the forecasting model.
There are a few factors that can affect how much energy can be generated from solar PV systems which include
the size, number and position of the panels, number of hours of daylight which can depend upon time of year and
weather. Solar PV power output can be computed by
258 Christine May C. Creayla et al. / Procedia Computer Science 105 (2017) 256 – 263

P =
M ( )
P
eff in
( PR )
out 100 (1)

where  denotes the power output,  is the efficiency of the module, PR is the performance ratio or coefficient
of losses typically between 0.5 to 0.9 and  is equal to

P = I ( A)
in (2)

where I is the solar irradiation on tilted panels and A represents the total area of the solar module3.
Research in the last decades has concentrated on forecasting solar irradiation4,5,6 while few works focus on
prediction of PV system power production. Since the PV power production is linearly dependent on global irradiance7,
then predicting solar irradiance is not likely to be different from forecasting PV power.

4.Random forest algorithm

Solar irradiance forecasting is the basis of the power production of solar PV systems. Several studies were already
done proposing methods for PV power forecasts in different forecast horizons, and time scales1,2,7. Forecasting demand
is a crucial issue for driving efficient operations management plans.
Machine learning (ML) is a construction and study of systems that can learn from data. ML is now being used
across many domains and functions8 that includes forecasting and provides a structure to evaluate a suitable model of
the time dependency from observed data. For example, when training a model to learn, it must be given a significant
amount of random sample as training data. If the training set is not random, there is a risk that the machine learning
patterns aren’t there. If the training set it too small, the model won’t learn enough and many give inaccurate
conclusions.
Random Forest (RF) is a class of ensemble learning methods utilizing multitudes of decision tree predictors based
from data sampled from a training set. This learning algorithm processes the input data or build a tree in the forest by
following these steps9:
For
= 1 . . . , iterate until convergence.
1. Take a bootstrap sample  of size  from
2. Grow a tree  from the bootstrapped sample with the following conditions:
a. Given  input variable, a number   such that for each node of the tree, variables are selected
randomly from and the best split from is used to split the node.
b. Grow a tree without pruning
To perform regression on a testing set , the output of the  number of decision trees are averaged as described
by the following equation:

N 1 N
f̂ ( x ) = ∑ i Tb ( x )
rf N (3)
Christine May C. Creayla et al. / Procedia Computer Science 105 (2017) 256 – 263 259

5.The real-time monitoring system

The hybrid energy system in this study is located at the Ateneo de Manila University, Quezon City. The installed
PV system is composed of two GP100PA modules with a total covered area of 1.5525m2 and a capacity of 200W. The
maximum output power of each module under standard test conditions is 100W ± 3%. The solar PV module
specifications can be found in Table 1.

Table 1. PV module specifications.


PV module Specifications
Type GP100PA
Maximum power 100 W
Maximum power voltage 17.5 V
Maximum power current 5.71 A
Open circuit voltage 21.8 V
Short circuit current 6.01 A

A Luminous Solar Home UPS 1400VA/24V hybrid inverter was used to convert DC to AC. This inverter can
provide a maximum output current of 15A under AC output voltage of 180-265V. The maximum inverter efficiency
is 92%. Power generated from the PV system was used and fed into electrical loads such as laptop computer, desktop
computer and cellphones.
Sensors are attached to the PV system to read and send the following parameters: (1) DC current (Amperes) and
DC voltage (Volts) generated by the panels, (2) DC current (Amperes) and DC voltage (Volts) stored and supplied by
the batteries (3) DC power generated by the panel in Watts, and (4) the total energy consumed by the household from
both the solar PV system and distribution grid in kilo-Watt/hour.
The hardware design is a modification of an earlier monitoring system. It consists of the following: (1) ACS711LC
sensor for DC current measurement and voltage divider for DC voltage measurement (2) E-gizmo MKII Power
Analyzer for the AC measurements, and (3) Raspberry Pi which serves as the host server where data is stored. The
system layout deployed is shown in Fig. 1.
260 Christine May C. Creayla et al. / Procedia Computer Science 105 (2017) 256 – 263

Fig. 1. Hybrid energy system layout with the weather station.

Meteorological parameters were gathered using a Sparkfun Weather Meter SEN-08942 ROHS also connected to
the Raspberry Pi and an MS-410 pyranometer was used for the irradiance measurements.
The energy generation and production data, solar irradiance, wind speed, wind direction, temperature, precipitation,
pressure, and relative humidity were recorded at 1 min interval. In addition to these parameters, the date and time of
the day were also recorded, since solar intensity varies throughout the year for a given location.

6.The prediction model for solar irradiance

For this study, we train a Random Forest as an ahead-of-time irradiance prediction model, utilizing a training set
consisting of the following L features: irradiance, wind direction, wind speed, precipitation, humidity, temperature,
and pressure. We set a number  as the number of desired trees in the forest. The prediction model with n=1000
number of estimator trees are used during the training process.
Meteorological data such as solar irradiance, temperature, wind speed, relative humidity and pressure measured
from April 7 to April 8, 2016 in Quezon City (14.58N, 123E), Philippines were used to test the machine learning
algorithm. Fig. 2a and 2b plots the measured value and predicted value of solar irradiance while Fig. 3a and 3b shows
the measured and calculated output power generated from the PV system for April 7 to April 8, 2016. The solar
irradiance shows an irregular shape due to the heavily clouded sky. The results of the forecasting model yielded an R2
= 80.98%. The R2 value, known as the coefficient of determination, evaluates how the regression curve matches the
data well. The calculated output power shown in Fig 3 was obtained using Eq. (1) and (2) and with PR = 0.75 as a
default value.
This calculation resulted in R2 = 68.24%. By comparing Fig. 2 and 3, it is evident that the solar irradiance exhibits
a shape comparable to the output PV power.
Christine May C. Creayla et al. / Procedia Computer Science 105 (2017) 256 – 263 261

 
 
 
   
 

  

 

  
 
 
 
 
 
 



 
 
 
    
  
 

Fig. 2. (a) Comparison of predicted and measured solar irradiance of April 7, 2016 and (b) April 8, 2016.

 
 
   
       

 


   


   

 

 

 





 

 
 
    
  
 

Fig. 3. (a) Comparison of measured and predicted output power generated from the PV system during April 7, 2016 and (b) April 8, 2016.

To further verify and observe the relationship of solar irradiance and power generation of a PV system, validation
from another set of solar irradiance and meteorological data from June 22 to June 25, 2016 were used for the prediction
model. These four days were selected to show the varying weather conditions as extensively as possible. June 23 was
heavily overcast and the rest were slightly cloud covered. As shown on Fig. 4, the predicted value fits the measured
value well with R2 = 85.89% since parameters such as wind direction and precipitation were added to the forecasting
model.
262 Christine May C. Creayla et al. / Procedia Computer Science 105 (2017) 256 – 263

  
  
  
   




   















 
    
    
    
  


 

Fig. 4. Comparison of predicted and measured solar irradiance from June 22 to June 25, 2016.

It is important to validate the accuracy of the solar irradiance prediction model since power production is linearly
dependent on global irradiance. Fig. 5 shows the daily power generated and calculated from the PV system from June
22 to June 25, 2016 with R2 = 28.1%. There is a resemblance in the trend of the measured and calculated power in the
figure. However, the large difference in the values, as indicated by R2, need to be investigated further. It is known that
the conversion efficiency of a solar PV module decreases with increasing module temperature10. Thus, the discrepancy
may be due to the variation in conversion efficiency as the module temperature fluctuates, which was not taken into
account in the calculations.

 
  
  
   




  




   
     
     
     
 


     

Fig. 5 The daily power generation from the PV system during June 22 to June 25, 2016.
Christine May C. Creayla et al. / Procedia Computer Science 105 (2017) 256 – 263 263

7.Conclusion

This paper developed a forecasting model for solar irradiance based on a machine learning algorithm – the random
forest. The prediction model has been validated through measured data from a hybrid solar PV system in Quezon City.
From the results of the solar irradiance forecasting, an increase of 5% accuracy was achieved when more parameters
such as wind direction and precipitation were added for training the prediction model. The forecasting model for solar
irradiance follows the same trend as the power generation of the PV system which suggests correlation. However, the
model used to calculate the power output of the PV system based on the predicted solar irradiance needs to consider
changes in the conversion efficiency due to the varying environment conditions to improve its accuracy. Nonetheless,
the proposed prediction model for solar irradiance is promising and can potentially be used for next-day forecasting
of solar PV power production.
To take advantage of using machine learning for generating prediction models, more available data in training the
model will be considered in the future for a more accurate prediction model.

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank the Philippine Department of Science and Technology–Engineering Research and
Development for Technology (DOST-ERDT) program for supporting this work.

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