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Solcast nowcasting solutions for solar farms and the Australian energy sector

  • $781k

    ARENA Funding

  • $2.57m

    Total Project Value

  • Project basics

    ARENA Program

    Advancing renewables

    Lead Organisation

    Solar and Storage Modelling Pty Ltd

    Start Date

    Jan 2019

    Project Partners

    Wirsol, Oakey 1 Asset Company Pty Ltd, Neoen Australia, Foresight Group, First Solar, EnergyAustralia, Edify Energy, FRV, Dispatch Solutions, CWP Renewables

    Location

    New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Victoria

    Status

    Current

Project Basics

ARENA Program

Advancing renewables

Lead Organisation

Solar and Storage Modelling Pty Ltd

Start Date

Jan 2019

Project Partners

Wirsol, Oakey 1 Asset Company Pty Ltd, Neoen Australia, Foresight Group, First Solar, EnergyAustralia, Edify Energy, FRV, Dispatch Solutions, CWP Renewables

Location

New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Victoria

Status

Current

Summary

This project aims to operationalise, deploy and improve self-forecasting technology for up to eight Australian solar farms and to submit dispatch forecasts to the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) to reduce costs to large-scale solar farms.

How the project works

The project will operationalise, deploy and improve Solcast’s self-forecasting technology, and submit these forecasts to AEMO via project partner, Dispatch Solutions. It will be accomplished through a staged process of testing, trialling and transitioning customers to a commercial service.

The forecasting technology will leverage Solcast’s existing global satellite nowcasting system, set-up live SCADA feeds to the Solcast API, and install low cost sky-imagers onsite to train and test 5-minute ahead forecasting technologies. Once testing and training is complete, the project will operationalise individualised forecast models for each solar farm site, providing these to Dispatch Solutions, who will submit them to AEMO for operational use.

Area of innovation

This will be accomplished through a collaborative endeavour between Solcast (project lead) and partner Dispatch Solutions for the purposes of deploying, testing, improving and live trialling dispatch forecasts. Specifically, the project will:

  • operationalise Solcast’s super-rapid update utility scale solar forecasting technologies
  • deploy these forecasting technologies to eight participating solar farms
  • install low cost sky-imagers at participating solar farms
  • train a site-specific forecast model for each generator
  • make iterative improvements to the solar farm forecasting technologies
  • submit test forecasts to AEMO’s API framework to finalise dataflows and establish confidence in the accuracy and reliability of the forecasting models
  • complete a live dispatch forecasting trial on the NEM for each generator
  • provide +5 minute to +7 day forecasts for the Gannawarra solar farm to the EnergyAustralia trading team to devise new dispatch/charging strategies for the co-located Gannawarra Energy Storage System.

A key outcome will be the removal of several barriers to the widespread adoption of self-forecasting technologies, particularly through efforts to establish transparency around potential reductions in Causer Pays Factors (CPF) for solar farm operators. CPF are costs that solar farm operators/owners incur via forecasting errors that occur in day to day operations of these facilities.

Benefit

This project could benefit solar farm owners and operators by reducing the costs of operating large scale solar farms in the National Electricity Market (NEM). This will be achieved through a substantial reduction in the CPF that solar farm operators incur through the current AEMO provided Australian Solar Energy Forecasting System (ASEFS). Cost-savings of more than 20 per cent are projected, which could increase the cost competitiveness of large-scale solar farms operating in the NEM.

More information

Contact information

Dr Nick Engerer

+61 435 943 206

nick@solcast.com.au