Sandia National Laboratories Develop Solar Energy Production Forecasting System
Harnessing solar energy with photovoltaic panels is a great idea,but the changing weather stands as a major hurdle in its way. One of the challenges for power companies in effectively utilizing solar energy on a large scale is the ability to predict and prepare for fluctuations in electricity generation due to changes in weather – heat, cold, airborne dust and clouds. In order to determine how clouds affect large-scalesolar photovoltaic farms, researchers at the Sandia National Laboratories have developed a system that helps in the monitoring procedure.
Sandia’s engineers have installed their system at the 1.2-megawattLa Ola Solar Farm on the Hawaiian island of Lana’I. The system presently under testing observes cloud shape, size and movement. As many as 24small sensors have been connected to the farm’s Sunpower solar panels,which use a radio frequency network to transmit data. The sensors takereadings at one-second intervals, which is further used to predict plant output variability.
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