Australian Back-up Power Manufacturer Magellan Power has been announced as a Curtinnovation Award Finalist, for its collaborated “Sky Imaging” project. The joint project between the Curtin University Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Magellan centered around the development of an imaging camera based device called Sky Eye, which can predict the exact moment a passing cloud will cause a shadow on a solar installation.
Passing clouds can cause big problems for weak grids laden with solar power, so much so that Western Australian regional grid power supplier Horizon Power mandated that all new solar installations in regional Western Australia using its grid be equipped with technology to smooth the transition of renewable energy, and give time for diesel generators to catch up. Other regional utilities are now considering a similar mandate.
The Australian designed and made Sky Eye works in the proactive manner through using the latest imagery and predictive algorithms together with machine learning software. It "sees" the approaching weather, by tracking the cloud movement and precisely calculating the moment of impact of the cloud shadow on the solar panels and therefore the solar generation. It then commands the solar inverter to reduce solar generation in a controlled manner, allowing the grid generator to ramp up and take the load again in accordance with guidelines of Horizon Power's Generation Management specifications.
The Magellan device was entered under the Climate-KIC classification, but the awards also recognise innovation in Health Sciences, Humanities, Business & Education, and Science & Engineering among others. The awards are held to encourage the use of research in developing new products and services, and to foster ties between the university and business.
The winners will be announced at Fraser’s State Reception Centre in Perth on Friday the 15th of September.
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