Recent advances in solar irradiation predictions as the input of solar system simulations: From Earth’s surface measurements to satellite imagery; From Angstrom correlation to ANN

Prof. Dr. Bulent Akinoglu
Middle East Technical University, Ankara-Turkey

Estimation of solar irradiation on the surface of the Earth with all its components is vital in the long and short term evaluation of all solar energy applications. In fact, without the accurate prediction of the input to a system to be constructed it is impossible to reach economically feasible investments. Solar irradiation that is passing through the atmosphere, interacting with the atmospheric constitutes it scatters into diffuse parts in addition to a direct (beam) component; and it decreases. Together with these wave-matter interactions, the orbital and axial rotation of Earth and the latitude of the location determine its value when it reaches to the Earth’s surface at an instant. The process of course can be modeled by different scientific approaches to reach realistic and accurate prediction methodologies. Surface measurements and models produced using them are very important but in the last decade, satellite images are also started to be utilized to develop better estimation methodologies. Some recent studies by the speaker and his colleagues linked these two approaches. And in addition, different artificial neural network (ANN) methods in the predictions of solar irradiation are utilized to determine the best methodologies in recent years.
Recent advancements on the modeling of solar irradiation at the surface of the Earth and the prediction/comparison studies are the topics that will be covered in this talk. Our physical modeling approach based on the surface measurements and satellite imageries, and some recent researches/analyses that we conducted to determine the best methods countrywide within this scheme are also the topics of this presentation.


Dr. Akinoglu is a physicist in Department of Physics, Middle East Technical University, Ankara-Turkey. He is also affiliated by Earth System Science Department (ESS-METU) and also a member of GUNAM (Center for Solar Energy Research and Application-METU). Dr. Akinoglu is co-founder of ESS and ISES Turkish Branch. He is also co-founder of NGOs in Turkey who works on energy and environmental issues. He participated in many international and national conferences and published around 80 articles and a book chapter. Dr. Akinoglu established a crystal growth laboratory in Physics Department and worked in this laboratory many years with his students on the material science aspects while in the meantime he continued to study on solar energy, physical modeling of solar irradiation reaching the Earth, and energy and environment issues. He developed courses on Solar Energy, Physics of Solar Energy and Physics of Energy topics and he is opening these courses every semester; many students take these courses from science and engineering departments. Currently, he is working on determining the countrywide solar irradiation prediction schemes, energy efficient houses, long and short term PV module and array performance calculations, paleo estimation of solar irradiation, sustainable development and sustainable energy policy issues.