Carlos Coimbra, an Associate Professor in the School of Engineering of UC Merced, is leading research in solar forecasting. You can follow their solar experiments in real-time at the webpage:
http://sol.ucmerced.edu (links are on the left-hand side)
and particularly for online radiometric measurements in Merced at http://sol.ucmerced.edu/realtime_irrad.php
The Solar Power Forecasting Initiative
Lowering the Cost of Solar Power Through Research
The UC Merced Solar Forecasting Laboratory is developing a network of solar instruments to monitor, map and forecast the solar resource in the state of California with unprecedented resolution and accuracy. The data from a few strategically placed high-grade solar ground stations will be used for the continuing development of a self-learning, stochastic model that UC Merced has created for the accurate forecasting of the solar resource. The model combines remote sensing, ground irradiance measurements, cloud-tracking image processing, and weather data from hundreds of National Weather Service (NWS) meteorological stations with the objective of providing solar irradiance forecasting capability for the entire state of CA at very high temporal and spatial resolutions. This project will place California in a strategically important position in terms of solar technology development since the solar resource will be monitored, mapped and forecasted in greater detail than any other region in the world, which in turn will enable much higher PV market penetration than is allowed today. This project aims to overcome the problems associated with current grid stability constraints, and the high costs of uncertainty in power ratings given by traditional forecast models for intermittent sources such as solar and wind.