Testing Solar Nowcasting Tools Down Under

Dec. 19, 2018
The research program is identifying use cases for solar forecasting in LV network operations

The Australian National University (ANU) is collaborating with research partner Solcast on a $4 million research and demonstration project that is deploying and integrating solar forecasting tools with the operations of electric distribution companies faced with high penetration solar PV scenarios. ANU is a major research university and Solcast is a global solar forecasting company specializing in satellite based nowcasting technologies.  See: https://solcast.com.au/research/.

The research project utilizes rapid update probabilistic solar forecasts which are generated by Solcast through use of the Himawari 8 satellite, providing new short-term predictions of cloud cover and solar radiation every 10 minutes at 1km^2 resolution.  Solar irradiance forecasts are converted to PV power output forecasts based on Solcast’s PV power modelling tools using information about the locations, capacities and network typology information provided by 11 electric distribution network service provider (DNSP) partners.  Forecasts are then delivered to the distribution partners as grid aggregations, where the total power output generated at each network asset is compiled and then exposed via unique application programing interface (API) endpoints for each zone substation.  Guidance for the project has been provided by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) and Energy Networks Australia.

Now in its final year, the research program is identifying use cases for solar forecasting in LV network operations, including specific network management actions such as operating a virtual power plant to offset solar ramping events. It also includes the provision of actual PV power output measurements from inverter manufacturer Fronius.  Commercial outcomes of the project are now being made available as an operational service by Solcast. More information is available from the contacts listed below. 

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