Research Papers: Alternative Energy Sources

On the Assessment of a Numerical Weather Prediction Model for Solar Photovoltaic Power Forecasts in Cities

[+] Author and Article Information
Harold Gamarro

Mechanical Engineering Department,
The City College of New York,
160 Convent Avenue,
New York, NY 10031
e-mail: hgamarr00@citymail.cuny.edu

Jorge E. Gonzalez

Fellow ASME
NOAA-CREST Professor of Mechanical Engineering
The City College of New York,
160 Convent Avenue,
New York, NY 10031
e-mail: jgonzalezcruz@ccny.cuny.edu

Luis E. Ortiz

Mechanical Engineering Department,
The City College of New York,
160 Convent Avenue,
New York, NY 10031
e-mail: lortiz10@citymail.cuny.edu

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Advanced Energy Systems Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF ENERGY RESOURCES TECHNOLOGY. Manuscript received October 7, 2018; final manuscript received February 14, 2019; published online March 29, 2019. Assoc. Editor: Reza Baghaei Lakeh.

J. Energy Resour. Technol 141(6), 061203 (Mar 29, 2019) (7 pages) Paper No: JERT-18-1766; doi: 10.1115/1.4042972 History: Received October 07, 2018; Revised February 14, 2019

Recent developments in the weather research and forecasting (WRF) model have made it possible to accurately estimate incident solar radiation. This study couples the WRF-solar modifications with a multilayer urban canopy and building energy model (BEM) to create a unified WRF forecasting system called urban WRF–solar (uWRF-solar). This paper tests the integrated approach in the New York City (NYC) metro region as a sample case. Hourly forecasts are validated against ground station data collected at ten different sites in and around the city. Validation is carried out independently for clear, cloudy, and overcast sky conditions. Results indicate that the uWRF-solar model can forecast solar irradiance considerably well for the global horizontal irradiance (GHI) with an R2 value of 0.93 for clear sky conditions, 0.61 for cloudy sky conditions, and finally, 0.39 for overcast conditions. Results are further used to directly forecast solar power production in the region of interest, where evaluations of generation potential are done at the city scale. Outputs show a gradient of power generation produced by the potential available solar energy on the entire uWRF-solar grid. In total, the city has a city photovoltaic (PV) potential of 118 kWh/day/m2 and 3.65 MWh/month/m2.

Copyright © 2019 by ASME
Topics: Solar energy , Cities
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Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

Pluto data building height and area fraction at 100 m resolution, regridded at a spatial resolution of 1 km

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Fig. 2

Outer 9 km domain and the nested 3 km and 1 km domain (d02, d03) used by the uWRF-solar model

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Fig. 3

Map detailing the location of all the meteorological stations where the NYC sites are highlighted with a red marker and the New Jersey sites are highlighted with a blue marker

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Fig. 4

Visual representation of the clear sky detection algorithm for Brooklyn, NY. Measured GHI is in blue, with red markers signifying a clear time.

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Fig. 5

(a) Mean 3PM PV Power over the entire model domain and (b) average daily total power over entire model domain

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Fig. 6

(a) Mean 3PM PV Power using building area fraction and (b) average daily total power using building area fraction



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