A new solar forecasting service developed by the University of Sheffield will provide forecasts for energy generation from solar PV systems in the United Kingdom up to 72 hours in advance, opening the way for an increase in energy efficiency and a reduction in energy costs.
Sheffield Solar was developed by the Department of Physics at the University of Sheffield in the UK, and will provide electricity grid operators as well as energy generators and traders with solar PV energy generation forecasts for up to 72 hours in advance. The research group behind the project identified a need for greater accuracy in measurement and forecast for solar energy generation in an effort to reduce the disruption this variable energy source will have on the grid. This has been increasingly important as renewable energy capacity has increased rapidly over the past few years, and has continued to break records across the UK. With the increase in renewable energy capacity has come the expected increase in electricity being directed into the UK electricity grid, which has in turn required greater monitoring so as to better integrate and balance these new sources of electricity alongside more traditional sources such as gas and nuclear.
Without increased battery storage built in to stabilize solar’s generation, solar remains an uncontrollable source of energy, which has only increased the need for more reliable measurements and forecasts so as to better prepare grid operators — without which, standby energy sources must remain on call to provide if solar capacity drops. This dual generation increases the overall operating costs of the electricity grid.
However, with more accurate measurements and forecasts, Sheffield Solar aims to reduce electricity costs and increase solar efficiency.
Sheffield Solar has been working closely with National Grid — the UK’s electricity grid operator — to develop a tool which provides real-time estimates of solar PV generation from PV systems across the UK. In addition, Sheffield Solar is now providing better forecasts by integrating weather forecast data into its live generating platform to provide a forecast of the expected generation across the next 72 hours.
You can already get a look at Sheffield Solar at its website, found here, which is allowing free access to live data and forecasts until October 31.
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