Solar energy is very popular in Australia and its installation on both small and large (regional and metropolitan) grid systems is rapidly increasing.
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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.
Click here for Sky Eye brochure.