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PLoS One. 2017 Aug 14;12(8):e0182429. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0182429. eCollection 2017.

Short-term prediction of solar energy in Saudi Arabia using automated-design fuzzy logic systems.

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Department of Computer Sciences, College of Computing and Information Technology, University of Jeddah, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.


Solar energy is considered as one of the main sources for renewable energy in the near future. However, solar energy and other renewable energy sources have a drawback related to the difficulty in predicting their availability in the near future. This problem affects optimal exploitation of solar energy, especially in connection with other resources. Therefore, reliable solar energy prediction models are essential to solar energy management and economics. This paper presents work aimed at designing reliable models to predict the global horizontal irradiance (GHI) for the next day in 8 stations in Saudi Arabia. The designed models are based on computational intelligence methods of automated-design fuzzy logic systems. The fuzzy logic systems are designed and optimized with two models using fuzzy c-means clustering (FCM) and simulated annealing (SA) algorithms. The first model uses FCM based on the subtractive clustering algorithm to automatically design the predictor fuzzy rules from data. The second model is using FCM followed by simulated annealing algorithm to enhance the prediction accuracy of the fuzzy logic system. The objective of the predictor is to accurately predict next-day global horizontal irradiance (GHI) using previous-day meteorological and solar radiation observations. The proposed models use observations of 10 variables of measured meteorological and solar radiation data to build the model. The experimentation and results of the prediction are detailed where the root mean square error of the prediction was approximately 88% for the second model tuned by simulated annealing compared to 79.75% accuracy using the first model. This results demonstrate a good modeling accuracy of the second model despite that the training and testing of the proposed models were carried out using spatially and temporally independent data.

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