‘’Sky Eye’’ camera research jointly developed with Curtin University been featured in an article published in the IEEE journal “Transactions on Industrial Informatics”
Feb 2018 which involves using a cloud predicting camera as a way of “smoothing” solar power in renewable energy installations.
Solar Energy is very popular in Australia, and its 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.
Currently a standard way of mitigating this power disturbance is through the use of battery storage which provides the injection of extra power when the voltage drops due to a passing cloud. Magellan Power has been supplying this technology for the past few years, however this method puts strenuous burden on the battery and necessitates the use of expensive batteries with high cyclic capability. ‘’Sky-Eye’’ technology
presents a ground-breaking new approach to solving this problem by using real-time information from a sky camera to predict cloud’s motions and its effect on PV generation up to 15 minutes prior to the shadow event.
The published paper entitled “Battery-Less Short Term Smoothing of Photovoltaic Generation Using Sky Camera”
aimed to investigate the smoothing of the export power fluctuations due to clouds passing over PVG plants. The article describes the way the camera-based Solar Smoother works, observing incoming clouds and weather and taking action to minimise the disturbance caused by passing clouds.
(Above Left) Real-time captured camera images (a) ﬁsh-eye, (b) undistorted, (c) RBR in false color. Reconstructed clear sky image, (d) ﬁsh-eye, (e) undistorted, (f) RBR in false color. Cloud segmentation, (g) differential image, (h) thresholded by ΘRBR (i) cloud contours. (j) Cloud motion. (k) Cloud Forecast. (l) Observation ranges and effective range of displacement prediction. (Top Left) The Magellan Sky Eye installed on for customer site. (Bottom Left) Site PV Array.
The preliminary trial experiment conducted at the Magellan Power facility in Bibra Lake showed that compared with non-predictive methods (battery storage only) the camera-based method avoids sudden and disruptive PVG export variations meaning reliance on expensive back-up power is significantly reduced.
The report concluded stating that the proposed cloud prediction using a sky camera could significantly mitigate the reliance of the conventional PVG smoothing strategy on the supporting power injection. Also found was the financial benefit of using the predictive camera method over the use of battery storage and the feasibility of the reliable battery-less smoothing solution.
To view the article, click here
, and click here for more product information on the Magellan Solar Smoother.