Locus Energy introduced a new tool that will allow utilities, power produces and solar developers to better understand how to predict how much power a solar installation will produce on a given day. The tool should help grid operators better understand how to balance the electric load should the weather change abruptly.
The software tool is being launched as a short-term forecast tool capable of predicting solar irradiance and power across a geographic area. “The system uses high accuracy ground level radiance data,” said Locus Energy Vice President of Sales and Marketing Adrian De Luca. “Moreover, once it’s been installed, we can do prospecting analysis based on the Virtual Irradiance engine,” he said. It’s the first time such a system was introduced that allows energy generation prediction without having a sensor onsite, he said.
The software allows system operators to look at solar irradiance across a geographic area. “The data is predominately based on 5 minute data,” De Luca said. The information synthesizes weather information, artificial intelligence and remote sensing with Locus’ proprietary algorithms to anticipate how much a solar system will produce across the system. It forecasts data between zero and six hours, daily and weekly.
“You’ll be able to look within an entire fleet, a service territory a feeder line, whatever,” De Luca said. As such system integration managers can use the information to better understand how to manage the grid for given weather circumstances and whether or not to have other sources of generation ready in case the solar generation is reduced by cloud or weather. That will help reduce grid instability as more solar is introduced into the grid across the country.
The company will launch a beta version of its new solar forecasting service based on the company’s Virtual Irradiance product. It will launch the beta service next week at Solar Power International 2012, in Orlando, Fla. “It will initially be launched as part of our monitoring platform, as an add-on,” De Luca said. He anticipated that it will eventually be offered as a stand-alone API, he said.