Short-term forecasting of photovoltaic solar power production using variational auto-encoder driven deep learning approach

Abdelkader Dairi, Fouzi Harrou, Ying Sun, Sofiane Khadraoui

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


The accurate modeling and forecasting of the power output of photovoltaic (PV) systems are critical to efficiently managing their integration in smart grids, delivery, and storage. This paper intends to provide efficient short-term forecasting of solar power production using Variational AutoEncoder (VAE) model. Adopting the VAE-driven deep learning model is expected to improve forecasting accuracy because of its suitable performance in time-series modeling and flexible nonlinear approximation. Both single-and multi-step-ahead forecasts are investigated in this work. Data from two grid-connected plants (a 243 kW parking lot canopy array in the US and a 9 MW PV system in Algeria) are employed to show the investigated deep learning models’ performance. Specifically, the forecasting outputs of the proposed VAE-based forecasting method have been compared with seven deep learning methods, namely recurrent neural network, Long short-term memory (LSTM), Bidirectional LSTM, Convolutional LSTM network, Gated recurrent units, stacked autoencoder, and restricted Boltzmann machine, and two commonly used machine learning methods, namely logistic regression and support vector regression. The results of this investigation demonstrate the satisfying performance of deep learning techniques to forecast solar power and point out that the VAE consistently performed better than the other methods. Also, results confirmed the superior performance of deep learning models compared to the two considered baseline machine learning models.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
JournalApplied Sciences (Switzerland)
Issue number23
StatePublished - Nov 25 2020

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2021-02-21
Acknowledged KAUST grant number(s): OSR-2019-CRG7-3800
Acknowledgements: This work was supported by funding from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Office of Sponsored Research (OSR) under Award No: OSR-2019-CRG7-3800.


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