A user-friendly and accurate machine learning tool for the evaluation of the worldwide yearly photovoltaic electricity production

Domenico Mazzeo*, Sonia Leva, Nicoletta Matera, Karolos J. Kontoleon, Shaik Saboor, Behrouz Pirouz, Mohamed R. Elkadeem

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

While traditional methods for modelling the thermal and electrical behaviour of photovoltaic (PV) modules rely on analytical and empirical techniques, machine learning is gaining interest as a way to reduce the time, expertise, and tools required by designers or experts while maintaining high accuracy and reliability. This research presents a data-driven machine learning tool based on artificial neural networks (ANNs) that can forecast yearly PV electricity directly at the optimal PV inclination angle without geographic restrictions and is valid for a wide range of electrical characteristics of PV modules. Additionally, empirical correlations were developed to easily determine the optimal PV inclination angle worldwide. The ANN algorithm, developed in Matlab, systematically and quantitatively summarizes the behaviour of eight PV modules in 48 worldwide climatic conditions. The algorithm's applicability and robustness were proven by considering two different PV modules in the same 48 locations. Yearly climatic variables and electrical/thermal PV module parameters serve as input training data. The yearly PV electricity is derived using dynamic simulations in the TRNSYS environment, which is a simulation program primarily and extensively used in the fields of renewable energy engineering and building simulation for passive as well as active solar design. Multiple performance metrics validate that the ANN-based machine learning tool demonstrates high reliability and accuracy in the PV energy production forecasting for all weather conditions and PV module characteristics. In particular, by using 20 neurons, the highest value of R-square of 0.9797 and the lowest values of the root mean square error and coefficient of variance of 14.67 kWh and 3.8%, respectively, were obtained in the training phase. This high accuracy was confirmed in the ANN validation phase considering other PV modules. An R-square of 0.9218 and values of the root mean square error and coefficient of variance of 31.95 kWh and 7.8%, respectively, were obtained. The results demonstrate the algorithm's vast potential to enhance the worldwide diffusion and economic growth of solar energy, aligned with the seventh sustainable development goal.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6267-6294
Number of pages28
JournalEnergy Reports
Volume9
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Author(s)

Keywords

  • Artificial neural network
  • Electricity
  • Machine learning
  • PV forecasting
  • Photovoltaic module
  • Validation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Energy

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