Large-scale solarProject Karratha Airport Solar Plant
This report reviews the operation of the 1 MW Karratha Airport solar project, in particular the performance of the cloud prediction and battery technology that is used to manage the electricity flow to the Karratha Airport and Horizon Power grid.
We have found after 15 months of operation in a real working environment that the plant has performed at or above expectations.
- The CloudCAM™ cloud camera and prediction software does seem to reliably sense and predict interruptions from cloud events, and the system ramps down the PV output ahead of the actual event
- The energy lost due to ramp-down is estimated to be less than 1%, far below the 5% target maximum
- The battery system maximum output capacity is sufficient, with only 92 events requiring maximum output (a total of 42 minutes) during the whole of 2017
- The battery storage capacity may be oversized, which is to be expected in a conservative design with not much practical history of plant performance
Issues with the plant have largely been due to data capture reliability, but these have been solved through alterations to the number of parameters captured.
Lessons from this project should be used to optimise the operation of the plant, and to permit reduced battery bank sizing for future projects thereby saving capital costs. We also suggest that variable or interruptible electricity loads such as chillers, pumping, fans etc should also be considered to manage electricity drawn from the grid.
We report that the technology would have many applications where the network and generation systems are unable to adapt to rapid changes in grid load.
The project participants would also like to thank ARENA for their extensive support during the development and execution of the project.