Increasing the Accuracy of Hourly Multi-Output Solar Power Forecast with Physics-Informed Machine Learning

Sensors (Basel). 2022 Jan 19;22(3):749. doi: 10.3390/s22030749.


Machine Learning (ML)-based methods have been identified as capable of providing up to one day ahead Photovoltaic (PV) power forecasts. In this research, we introduce a generic physical model of a PV system into ML predictors to forecast from one to three days ahead. The only requirement is a basic dataset including power, wind speed and air temperature measurements. Then, these are recombined into physics informed metrics able to capture the operational point of the PV. In this way, the models learn about the physical relationships of the different features, effectively easing training. In order to generalise the results, we also present a methodology evaluating this physics informed approach. We present a study-case of a PV system in Denmark to validate our claims by extensively evaluating five different ML methods: Random Forest, Support Vector Machine, Convolutional Neural Networks (CNN), Long-Short Term Memory (LSTM) and a hybrid CNN-LSTM. The results show consistently how the best predictors use the proposed physics-informed features disregarding the particular ML-method, and forecasting horizon. However, also, how there is a threshold regarding the number of previous samples to be included that appears as a convex function.

Keywords: PV; deep-learning; physics-informed machine learning; solar power forecasting.

MeSH terms

  • Forecasting
  • Machine Learning
  • Neural Networks, Computer
  • Physics
  • Solar Energy*