Improving *day-ahead* Solar Irradiance Time Series Forecasting by Leveraging Spatio-Temporal Context

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 36 (NeurIPS 2023) Main Conference Track

Bibtex Paper Supplemental


Oussama Boussif, Ghait Boukachab, Dan Assouline, Stefano Massaroli, Tianle Yuan, Loubna Benabbou, Yoshua Bengio


Solar power harbors immense potential in mitigating climate change by substantially reducing CO$_{2}$ emissions. Nonetheless, the inherent variability of solar irradiance poses a significant challenge for seamlessly integrating solar power into the electrical grid. While the majority of prior research has centered on employing purely time series-based methodologies for solar forecasting, only a limited number of studies have taken into account factors such as cloud cover or the surrounding physical context.In this paper, we put forth a deep learning architecture designed to harness spatio-temporal context using satellite data, to attain highly accurate day-ahead time-series forecasting for any given station, with a particular emphasis on forecasting Global Horizontal Irradiance (GHI). We also suggest a methodology to extract a distribution for each time step prediction, which can serve as a very valuable measure of uncertainty attached to the forecast. When evaluating models, we propose a testing scheme in which we separate particularly difficult examples from easy ones, in order to capture the model performances in crucial situations, which in the case of this study are the days suffering from varying cloudy conditions. Furthermore, we present a new multi-modal dataset gathering satellite imagery over a large zone and time series for solar irradiance and other related physical variables from multiple geographically diverse solar stations. Our approach exhibits robust performance in solar irradiance forecasting, including zero-shot generalization tests at unobserved solar stations, and holds great promise in promoting the effective integration of solar power into the grid.