Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (MSME)


Mechanical Engineering

Committee Chair

Guang Lin

Committee Member 1

Ilias Bilionis

Committee Member 2

Carlo Scalo


Solar energy forecasting plays an important role in both solar power plants and electricity grid. The effective forecasting is essential for efficient usage and management of the electricity grid, as well as for the solar energy trading. However, many of the existing models or algorithms are based on real physical laws, where tons of calculations, step-by-step modification, and many inputs are required. In this research, a novel deep Multi-layer Perceptron (MLP) based regression approach for predicting solar energy is proposed, in which the inputs are only ensemble weather forecasting data. The results demonstrate that our proposed deep Multi-layer Perceptron based regression approach for solar energy forecasting is efficient as well as accurate enough. A Sobol sensitivity analysis is performed over the trained model, determining the most important variables in the weather forecasting model data. The first-order and the total order Sobol sensitivity indices for quantifying feature importance, are calculated for each model input parameter. With using the process of feature removal, the result of Sobol sensitivity analysis is verified.