This project is conducting real-time analysis of some of the 650,000 residential solar photovoltaic (PV) systems widely distributed throughout Australia.
Solar energy is expected to become the best, low-cost solution for generating the bulk of Australia’s future electricity. However the availability of sunlight is intermittent, which can make electricity grid operations vulnerable to power supply issues.
Accurate forecasting of solar energy production is essential to managing this intermittency and thereby achieving widespread adoption of solar energy in the Australian electricity grid.
Forecasts can also help to decrease solar energy’s total operational costs, reduce risk, and enhance its operational efficiency.
This project is conducting real-time analysis of some of the 650,000 residential solar photovoltaic (PV) systems widely distributed throughout Australia. The output of these systems, when mapped in real time, is expected to provide accurate estimations of cloud characteristics such as location, motion and opacity, when matched to the PV systems.
The project will also help to develop an experimental network of low-cost all-sky cameras that will increase the number of cloud detection methods available for analysis.
The data and technologies developed will provide power utilities with their first tools for managing the technical issues associated with large amounts of rooftop PV feeding into the electricity grid. Ensuring these tools are low-cost will further increase their commercial viability.
The project team comprises world class experts in all areas needed to develop commercially relevant solar forecasting. They will collaboratively collect, curate and analyse high-quality field data from sites that span a diverse range of environmental conditions.
The industry partners involved represent a cross section of the sectors interested in solar energy forecasting and bring critical understanding of commercial operating requirements, access to unique operational data, and intimate knowledge of multiple Australian market sectors.
The results produced by this project will simplify the widespread uptake of PV, expand the potential PV market, lower the costs of finance for investment in solar power, and increase the market value of solar energy generation capacity.
This project will help utilities, generators and market operators prepare for the next generation of solar energy. It will also develop quantitative measures of performance and help identify the limits on how accurately the output from distributed PV systems can usefully be forecast.