Non-parametric quantile regression-based modelling of additive effects to solar irradiation in Southern Africa

Sci Rep. 2024 Apr 22;14(1):9244. doi: 10.1038/s41598-024-59751-8.


Modelling of solar irradiation is paramount to renewable energy management. This warrants the inclusion of additive effects to predict solar irradiation. Modelling of additive effects to solar irradiation can improve the forecasting accuracy of prediction frameworks. To help develop the frameworks, this current study modelled the additive effects using non-parametric quantile regression (QR). The approach applies quantile splines to approximate non-parametric components when finding the best relationships between covariates and the response variable. However, some additive effects are perceived as linear. Thus, the study included the partial linearly additive quantile regression model (PLAQR) in the quest to find how best the additive effects can be modelled. As a result, a comparative investigation on the forecasting performances of the PLAQR, an additive quantile regression (AQR) model and the new quantile generalised additive model (QGAM) using out-of-sample and probabilistic forecasting metric evaluations was done. Forecasted density plots, Murphy diagrams and results from the Diebold-Mariano (DM) hypothesis test were also analysed. The density plot, the curves on the Murphy diagram and most metric scores computed for the QGAM were slightly better than for the PLAQR and AQR models. That is, even though the DM test indicates that the PLAQR and AQR models are less accurate than the QGAM, we could not conclude an outright greater forecasting performance of the QGAM than the PLAQR or AQR models. However, in situations of probabilistic forecasting metric preferences, each model can be prioritised to be applied to the metric where it performed slightly the best. The three models performed differently in different locations, but the location was not a significant factor in their performances. In contrast, forecasting horizon and sample size influenced model performance differently in the three additive models. The performance variations also depended on the metric being evaluated. Therefore, the study has established the best forecasting horizons and sample sizes for the different metrics. It was finally concluded that a 20% forecasting horizon and a minimum sample size of 10000 data points are ideal when modelling additive effects of solar irradiation using non-parametric QR.

Keywords: Additive effects; Additive models; Non-parametric quantile regression; Pinball loss; Quantile splines; Solar irradiation.