This section analyzes some prediction models needed for scheduling production and optimal control of solar power plants.
The most important variable in a solar plant is solar radiation. Different models for solar radiation prediction and forecasting have been explained and developed in Chap. 2, both for short and long term forecasting. Different models of solar collector fields have been developed in Chap. 4 that are useful for optimization purposes (mainly those based on first principles).
Ambient temperature affects the thermal losses of the solar field, heat storage tanks and turbines. Ambient temperature also affects electrical demand. Low ambient temperature increases the need for heating and, therefore, electrical demand. Similarly, high ambient temperature increases the need for air cooling and electrical energy demand. Hourly temperature prediction can be obtained from weather forecasting services. The weather predictions can be corrected for by using current measured variables.