A regional solar forecasting approach using generative adversarial networks with solar irradiance maps

Haoran Wen, Yang Du*, Xiaoyang Chen, Eng Gee Lim, Huiqing Wen, Ke Yan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


The intermittent and stochastic nature of solar resource hinders the integration of solar energy into modern power system. Solar forecasting has become an important tool for better photovoltaic (PV) power integration, effective market design, and reliable grid operation. Nevertheless, most existing solar forecasting methods are dedicated to improving forecasting accuracy at site-level (e.g. for individual PV power plants) regardless of the impacts caused by the accumulated penetration of distributed PV systems. To tackle with this issue, this article proposes a novel generative approach for regional solar forecasting considering an entire geographical region of a flexible spatial scale. Specifically, we create solar irradiance maps (SIMs) for solar forecasting for the first time by using spatial Kriging interpolation with satellite-derived solar irradiance data. The sequential SIMs provide a comprehensive view of how solar intensity varies over time and are further used as the inputs for a multi-scale generative adversarial network (GAN) to predict the next-step SIMs. The generated SIM frames can be further transformed into PV power output through a irradiance-to-power model. A case study is conducted in a 24 × 24 km area of Brisbane to validate the proposed method by predicting of both solar irradiance and the output of behind-the-meter (BTM) PV systems at unobserved locations. The approach demonstrates comparable accuracy in terms of solar irradiance forecasting and better predictions in PV power generation compared to the conventional forecasting models with a highest average forecasting skill of 10.93±2.35% for all BTM PV systems. Thus, it can be potentially used to assist solar energy assessment and power system control in a highly-penetrated region.

Original languageEnglish
Article number119043
JournalRenewable Energy
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2023


  • Generative adversarial network
  • PV estimation
  • Regional solar forecasting
  • Solar irradiance map


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