Dr. Jane Harvill, an associate professor in the Department of Statistical Science, recently received a grant from the Sandia National Laboratories in support of her research aimed at improving statistical models used to predict solar irradiance — the amount of solar energy that can be gathered in a given location.
The amount of energy from the sun that reaches the earth can vary depending on a number of factors including atmospheric interference, sunspots and solar flares. Being able to predict these fluctuations more accurately would help providers better manage the energy produced in large solar farms.
Harvill’s research will examine data on solar energy gathered in and around solar energy farms over time and apply statistical methods to create a predictive model for determining the average amount of solar energy that can be expected over the farm’s geographic footprint in the future.
She will also seek to determine the extent to which currently existing models for solar irradiance can be improved by the use of spatio-temporal statistical methods.