University of South Australia starts project to develop short-term weather forecasts for solar farms

Australian researchers are developing short-term weather forecasts for solar farms to help them precisely predict output as little as five minutes in advance. The AUD 1.2 million (USD 0.82 million) project will use data generated by real-time sky cameras, satellite images and statistical modelling. Working alongside colleagues from CSIRO, the University of New South Wales and Genex Power, the University of South Australia (UniSA) is focusing on the statistical modelling component.
According to John Boland, UniSA Professor of Environmental Mathematics, »inaccurate short-term forecasts relating to wind and solar generation have cost Australia’s renewable energy sector about $5 million in the past decade.« Precise self-forecasting would also help solar farms with battery storage capabilities predict when best to sell or store their electricity.
The 18-month project will implement short-term solar forecasting systems at five operational solar farms in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria. The electricity spot price in Australia is calculated every five minutes with a settlement period of 30-minutes. The settlement time will be reduced from 30 minutes to five minutes from July 2021. The project received funding from ARENA as part of its Advancing Renewables Program.

Related News