Sep 7 2017

The Sunny Ways of Event Prediction


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A research group from the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom has developed a software module that aims to forecast solar energy service in order to increase the efficiency of the distribution system and reduce energy costs.

Sheffield Solar, based in the Department of Physics at the University of Sheffield has come up with a new service which is able to provide forecasts for solar energy generation. It is designed to look ahead and provide information on cloud coverage for the next 72 hours in the UK and providing that information to arrays of photovoltaic cells (solar farms).

The tool is for the intended use by power grid operators as well as energy generators and traders. This is a very timely development, considering that there has been a surge of interest in solar energy and with it there has also been an increased need to measure and forecast the impact of solar farms in order to mitigate any possible disruptions in the general power grid.

As of 2017, renewables have continued to break records. For example, in the United Kingdom alone, renewable sources have contributed with more than 50 per cent of the electricity demand in June and solar alone contributed up to a quarter of the power demand in late May. This trend is a wake-up call for greater monitoring of energy sources and to balance renewables with other sources, storage and interconnectors.

Since solar by its own nature cannot be controlled, it directly affects the balance of supply in the grid. The lack of certainty in forecasting photovoltaic results in the need for standby generators that can kick in with additional capacity in case solar cells underperform, and thus making it costly to manage the grid; but now with accurate forecasts the amount of reserve capacity can be reduced, cutting costs for operators and users alike.

Since 2015, Sheffield Solar has been working with the public utility, National Grid, in order to develop a tool which estimates the real time generation from photovoltaic systems across Great Britain. But now this new initiative will be used in the control rooms of National Grid in order to balance the supply and demand of energy.

This new service will take things a step further. By providing energy managers with a short term forecast, they will be better able to plan ahead in deciding which generators will be required throughout the day. Not only it combines weather data with data from live generating systems to provide a forecast, but it also provides frequent updates in order to ensure that stakeholders have a high quality forecast at their disposal.

Now here comes the best part: Tenex Developers has a track record in developing systems that combine complex sources of data in order to provide elegant and simple solutions for the end user, including big data analysis, event prediction and risk assessment. Give us a call or send us an email and we will demonstrate how we can deliver sunny forecasts to you and your customers.