Added-value of ensemble prediction system on the quality of solar irradiance probabilistic forecasts

Josselin Le Gal La Salle*, Jordi Badosa, Mathieu David, Pierre Pinson, Philippe Lauret

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Accurate solar forecasts is one of the most effective solution to enhance grid operations. As the solar resource is intrinsically uncertain, a growing interest for solar probabilistic forecasts is observed in the solar research community. In this work, we compare two approaches for the generation of day-ahead solar irradiance probabilistic forecasts. The first class of models termed as deterministic-based models generates probabilistic forecasts from a deterministic value of the irradiance predicted by a Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) model. The second type of models denoted by ensemble-based models issues probabilistic forecasts through the calibration of an Ensemble Prediction System (EPS) or from information (such as mean and variance) derived from the ensemble. The verification of the probabilistic forecasts is made using a sound framework. A numerical score, the Continuous Ranked Probability Score (CRPS), is used to assess the overall performance of the different models. The decomposition of the CRPS into reliability and resolution provides a further detailed insight into the quality of the probabilistic forecasts. In addition, a new diagnostic tool which evaluates the contribution of the statistical moments of the forecast distributions to the CRPS is proposed. This tool denoted by MC-CRPS allows identifying the characteristics of an ensemble that have an impact on the quality of the probabilistic forecasts. The assessment of the different models is done on several sites experiencing very different climatic conditions. Results show a general superior performance of ensemble-based models as the gain in forecast quality measured by the CRPS ranges from 4% to 16% depending on the site.

Original languageEnglish
JournalRenewable Energy
Pages (from-to)1321-1339
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020


  • CRPS
  • Day-ahead solar irradiance probabilistic forecast
  • Ensemble calibration
  • Ensemble prediction system
  • Non parametric methods


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