Abstract

The ability to predict solar radiation one-day-ahead is critical for the best management of renewable energy tied-grids. Several machine learning ensemble techniques have been proposed to enhance the short-term prediction of solar radiation strength. In general, finding an optimal ensemble model that consists of combining individual predictors is not trivial due to the need for tuning and other related issues. Few comparative studies have been presented to obtain optimal structures of machine learning ensemble that deal with predicting solar radiation. The contribution of the present research consists of a comparative study of various structures of stacking-based ensembles of data-driven machine learning predictors that are widely used nowadays to conclude the best stacking strategies in terms of performance to combine predictors of solar radiation. The base individual predictors are arranged to predict solar radiation intensity using historical weather and solar radiation records. Three stacking techniques, namely, feed-forward neural networks, support vector regressors, and k-nearest neighbor regressors, have been examined and compared to combine the prediction outputs of base learners. Most of the examined stacking models have been found capable to predict the solar radiation, but those related to combining heterogeneous models using neural meta-models have shown superior performance. Furthermore, we have compared the performance of combined models against recurrent models. The solar radiation predictions of the surveyed models have been evaluated and compared over an entire year. The performance enhancements provided by each alternative ensemble have been discussed.

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