Automated construction of clear-sky dictionary from all-sky imager data

Peter Shaffery, Aron Habte, Marcos Netto, Afshin Andreas, Venkat Krishnan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


All-sky imagers (ASIs) have substantial promise as scalable sensors for short-term solar irradiance forecasting. Many of the current computational techniques that use ASIs for this purpose rely on collections of clear-sky images indexed by time of day, solar angle, or both, called clear-sky dictionaries (CSDs). These CSDs act as baselines against which images can be compared to locate and classify clouds within the image frame. CSDs are often compiled by hand, where individuals visually inspect collections of images one at a time to find clear-sky images. This process is not scalable, and it is prone to error. This paper proposes an automated, nonparametric alternative that uses the principles of digital image processing to find clear-sky images within a set of images taken over several days. We use ground-truth measurements of the clearness index to assess the performance of our method, and we show that the images it selects accurately correspond to clear-sky images. We also compare our proposal, which is nonparametric, with a state-of-the-art parametric method. The numerical results indicate that the performance of the method proposed here is superior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)73-83
Number of pages11
JournalSolar Energy
StatePublished - Dec 2020
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • General Materials Science


  • All-sky imager
  • Clear-sky dictionary
  • Cloud detection
  • Digital image processing
  • Red-to-blue ratio
  • Short-term solar irradiance forecasting


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