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CPR gets grant for solar PV cloud cover simulation

Clean Power Research (CPR) has been awarded a grant of US$850,000 from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to implement simulation tools to predict the variability of solar photovoltaic (PV) power caused by cloud cover.

By Kari Williamson

“Accurate solar forecasting is critical for integrating ever-larger PV fleets into the grid, yet the expense and difficulty of obtaining this information can be very high,” says Tom Hoff, President of Research and Consulting at Clean Power Research.

“This grant builds on our previous CSI RD&D research, allowing us to validate our PV simulation models and make them widely available through easy-to-use software tools. We’re honoured that the CPUC selected Clean Power Research to complete the next phase of this research.”

The simulation means developers and owners can make accurate estimation of power output and variability of a fleet of solar PV systems without the cost and complexity involved with direct monitoring.

Clean Power Research will also produce 1-minute, 1 km SolarAnywhere data for California, a requirement for calculating variability at the short time intervals typical for dispatching energy reserves. The solar PV simulation capabilities will be made available via software to support projects in distribution planning, smart grid operation, utility load scheduling, and balance area planning and operation.

The grant is part of a third round of funding from the CPUC's California Solar Initiative Research, Development, Deployment and Demonstration (CSI RD&D) programme.

Participants in the solar PV cloud simulation project include: California Independent System Operator Corporation (California ISO), Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD), University at Albany, SUNY, Electric Power Research Institute Inc. (EPRI), Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA), and University of California, San Diego.

Launched in 2008, SolarAnywhere is a source of downloadable historical, real-time and forecast satellite-derived solar irradiance data for the continental US and Hawaii.

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