Improvements in the short-term predictability of irradiance in numerical weather prediction models can assist grid operators in managing intermittent solar-generated electricity. In this study, the performance of the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model when simulating different components of solar irradiance was tested under days of high intermittency at Mildura, a site located on the border of New South Wales and Victoria, Australia. Initially, four intermittent and clear case days were chosen, later extending to a full year study in 2005. A specific configuration and augmentation of the WRF model (version 3.6.1) designed for solar energy applications (WRF-Solar) with an optimum physics ensemble derived from literature over Australia was used to simulate solar irradiance with four nested domains nudged to ERA-Interim boundary conditions at grid resolutions (45, 15, 5, and 1.7 km) centred over Mildura. The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) station dataset available at minute timescales and hourly derived satellite irradiance products were used to validate the simulated products. Results showed that on days of high intermittency, simulated solar irradiance at finer resolution was affected by errors in simulated humidity and winds (speed and direction) affecting clouds and circulation, but the latter improves at coarser resolutions; this is most likely from reduced displacement errors in clouds.
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