Baby Steps

Will Holmgren, Feb 10, 2020

Are you curious about the Solar Forecast Arbiter but you don’t want to commit or you’re not sure how to get started? This is for you!

First, we totally understand your hesitation. Full use of the Solar Forecast Arbiter requires a lot of trust in the technical aspects of the platform and in the platform administrators. We expect to build that trust over time. The Solar Forecast Arbiter also has a bit of a learning curve, and we expect users to build expertise over time.

So, we’d like to propose a set of baby steps that stakeholders can take to build trust and expertise.

Step 0: Make a free, no-obligation, no-lawyers-required user account at Full instructions are provided on this website. Then:

Do this today!

If you like what you see, consider approaching the Arbiter in the following steps:

  1. Have an authorized representative at your organization sign the no-obligation, Solar Forecast Arbiter Use Agreement:
    • You cannot utilize the full functionality of the platform until this step has been completed
    • Signing the use agreement is free and does NOT obligate you to share any data. It is not a data sharing agreement, rather it is an agreement about how the framework, and data on it, may be used.
    • You are never obligated to upload any data to the platform. When you do upload data, the default is that it is private. Only data owners can change sharing privileges. As a data owner you are in control of who sees your data and you can remove it at any time.
  2. Make some dummy metadata, upload some dummy data, make an analysis report for reference sites and/or dummy data.
  3. Share private dummy data with one or two other users within and outside your organization to get an understanding of how data sharing and privacy works.
  4. Add real observational or forecast metadata, and upload real data for one or two sites.
  5. Use the Arbiter to produce an analysis report for a small, real world forecast problem.

Once you feel comfortable with the platform, consider a few more options:

  1. Participate in an operational forecast trial.
  2. Build the Arbiter into a regular workflow.
  3. Review the Arbiter’s REST API at
  4. In collaboration with the Arbiter’s administrators, provide a period of historical irradiance or power data to the public reference data set. Public reference forecasts will be created for these sites for the period of data that was provided. You can also upload forecasts for your data and then make reports that compare them to the reference forecasts.
  5. With the Arbiter’s administrators, provide real-time data to the public reference data set. Public, real-time reference forecasts will be created for these sites. These can then be evaluated with the reporting system. You can also compare them to your own uploaded forecasts.