UTSA Solar Forecasting Research

UTSA Solar Forecasting Research

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Our world and the ecosystem we live in are almost entirely dependent on solar power.  From the fresh air that we breathe to the water that we drink, the food we consume and the fossil fuels that we use, they are all available because of solar power.  Here at UTSA, we work hard to tap more and more from this renewable energy source for the benefit of human civilization.  But one of the main challenges with solar power is accurately predicting how much irradiance will be delivered by the sun in any given day, any given hour and minute.  This affects both sides of power utility operations – how much power will be generated by solar technologies (e.g., PV arrays) and how much demand for power will be created (e.g., on hot summer days at peak hours). 

We have been developing tools to more accurately forecast how much solar energy will be available, at specific locations and times.  We provide high-temporal and -spatial resolution forecasting solutions for integrated solar plant operations and maintenance (O&M). We work to make solar power a dispatchable resource, by enhancing the predictability of power it will produce.  In doing so, this will significantly increase the value of solar power to electric utilities.  In addition, the same tools that predict solar irradiance for the generation of electricity help us understand the patterns of electricity demand, so that utilities can better forecast, plan for and coordinate load demands.  We are excited to be working on one of the largest solar forecasting projects in the nation.  Funded by the largest-municipality-owned utility in the country, CPS Energy,

UTSA has launched 3 initiatives with this project:

 

1) Day-Ahead Forecasting Product

2) Intra-hour Forecasting Product

3) Sky imaging Forecasting Technology Product

 

As a partner of choice for solar energy research in Texas, UTSA is committed to increasing the value of solar through improved economic models, better science-to-policy transfer, solar PV thin-film testing, adaptive solar plant sensor instrumentation, site-specific soiling characterization and high-resolution GIS-based solar resource assessments. Our focus and technical capabilities help us ensure that the Solar Forecasting project delivers the highest return on investment for the citizens of San Antonio, Texas, the nation and the world.

Utilities, Owner/Operators, Developers and Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) will benefit from the solutions that UTSA develops for Solar Forecasting. We provide high-temporal and -spatial resolution forecasting solutions for integrated solar plant operations and maintenance (O&M). 

The following are some of the services that are our solutions support.


1) Solar plant maintenance:

Identify 1-day ahead and hour-ahead when to perform necessary cleaning and maintenance operations, so as to reduce generation losses/interruption.

2) Scheduling, systems control and dispatch service:

Enhanced capability to schedule the movement of solar power through, out of, within, or into distribution and transmission systems.

3) Reactive supply and voltage control service:

New flexible capability to maintain distribution and transmission voltages within acceptable limits, enabling solar generation facilities to produce (or absorb) reactive power.

4) Regulation and frequency response service:

Spatially distributed forecasted irradiance and power for the continuous balancing of resources for maintaining scheduled interconnection frequency.

5) Energy storage management: 

Optimize state of charge/discharge of energy storage systems with knowledge of future solar generation and load consumption capacity.

6) Risk management solutions:

define optimal demand (load) response strategy with knowledge of future solar generation capacity.

Rolando Vega, Ph.D., P.E. Texas Sustainable Energy Research Institute, UTSA


Hariharan Krishnaswami, Ph.D., College of Engineering, UTSA


Mo Jamshidi, Ph.D., College of Engineering, UTSA


Sos Agaian, Ph.D., College of Engineering, UTSA


Yashar Sahraei-Manjili, Texas Sustainable Energy Research Institute, UTSA


Jaro Nummikoski, Texas Sustainable Energy Research Institute, UTSA


Alejandro Camargo, Texas Sustainable Energy Research Institute, UTSA


Johanna Hansen, Texas Sustainable Energy Research Institute, UTSA


Robert A. Onufrei, Texas Sustainable Energy Research Institute, UTSA

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