With the launch of the Himawari-8 Satellite by the Japanese Meteorological Agency in 2015, the field of satellite-driven methodologies changed dramatically. Scans of the Earth became available every 10 minutes, a significant leap forward. Using the latest images from the Himawari-8, it is possible to track clouds in “near-real-time”, as such, information of when and where solar power will reach the Earth’s surface and onto PV panels is realized.
An ARENA-funded project at the ANU has entered partnership with the Energy Networks and Distribution Network Service Providers of Australia to deliver state-of-the-art solar forecasts through the company Solcast. It is an excellent demonstration of academia and industry making innovative change to address a critical problem facing the country.
Australia has one of the most significant uptakes of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems in the world (1.8mil residential PV systems with a population of 25mil), combined with our superb solar resource, Australia is on the front line of grid impacts from distributed solar PV. Fluctuations in PV power output, if not consumed in the household, are injected to the grid. As such, unexpected or sudden variations in generation can cause significant issues in voltage quality among others. The ability to forecast and understand when a power fluctuation will occur, grid operators have the opportunity to proactively manage and mitigate as opposed to the traditional reactive response.
About Dr Jamie Bright
In 2012, Jamie graduated with a Masters in Chemical Engineering, he then went on to undertake a PhD in Low Carbon Technologies, all at the University of Leeds, UK.
His PhD focused heavily on solar resource assessment. This revolved heavily around computational modelling of the available solar power using statistical methods.
In 2017, Jamie joined the ANU as a postdoctoral research fellow on an ARENA-funded project. His primary role is to push boundaries and improve the state-of-the-art methodologies in the satellite-derived solar forecasting operated by Solcast. Solcast’s role as a project partner is to deliver PV power forecasts to 13 of Australia’s Distribution Network Service Providers (e.g. EvoEnergy here in the ACT). This capability is new territory for grid operators, as such, how to use and take advantage of this new information is a platform for innovation.