Solar energy is very popular in Australia and its
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installation on both small and large (regional and
metropolitan) grid systems is rapidly increasing.
However, the erratic nature of solar generation
causes problems for the grid and more
installations result in more power disturbance.
For example, when clouds cover the sun, the amount
of electricity the (solar using) homes generate will drop
suddenly, causing this loss to be compensated by the grid.
This loss may not be significant for a large, strong grid but
it is for a small (weaker) grid. When this happens en mass
the loss of solar generation may be too sharp for the grid
to cope with, resulting in too much demand on the network
- thus causing reliability problems.
The first utility to respond to this problem was the West
Australian regional grid power supplier Horizon Power
which mandated that all new solar installations using its
grid be equipped with technology to smooth the transition
of renewable energy, and give time for the generators to
react to a cloud event.
The Magellan Sky Eye Solar Smoother is a practical,
innovative and cost-effective solution which uses real-time
information from a Sky Camera to predict cloud’s motions
for periods of 12 mins ahead, and applies ramp down
before the arrival of moving clouds. The Sky Eye works
proactively 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.
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