Modeling solar still production using local weather data and artificial neural networks

Noe I. Santos, Aly M. Said, David E. James, Nanda H. Venkatesh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


A study has been performed to predict solar still distillate production from single examples of two different commercial solar stills that were operated for a year and a half. The purpose of this study was to determine the effectiveness of modeling solar still distillate production using artificial neural networks (ANNs) and local weather data. The study used the principal weather variables affecting solar still performance, which are the daily total insolation, daily average wind velocity, daily average cloud cover, daily average wind direction and daily average ambient temperature. The objectives of the study were to assess the sensitivity of the ANN predictions to different combinations of input parameters as well as to determine the minimum amount of inputs necessary to accurately model solar still performance. It was found that 31-78% of ANN model predictions were within 10% of the actual yield depending on the input variables that were selected. By using the coefficient of determination, it was found that 93-97% of the variance was accounted for by the ANN model. About one half to two thirds of the available long term input data were needed to have at least 60% of the model predictions fall within 10% of the actual yield. Satisfactory results for two different solar stills suggest that, with sufficient input data, the ANN method could be extended to predict the performance of other solar still designs in different climate regimes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)71-79
Number of pages9
JournalRenewable Energy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


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