Solar forecasts ‘could slash energy bills’

A new solar forecasting service is expected to improve efficiency and slash costs by reducing the need for reserve energy generation to be kept on standby. The system has been […]

Register now!

By Jonny Bairstow

A new solar forecasting service is expected to improve efficiency and slash costs by reducing the need for reserve energy generation to be kept on standby.

The system has been developed by a team of researchers from the University of Sheffield, who say the 72-hour forecasts will provide useful information for grid operators, generators and traders and keep the grid more balanced.

The Sheffield Solar scientists say the rapid uptake of renewables means there’s a growing need to accurately measure and predict solar’s impact in order to mitigate its disruption on the electricity network and balance it with other sources of generation, energy storage and interconnectors.

As solar cannot be controlled and is quite unpredictable, it often affects the balance of supply and demand on the electricity grid, making it more expensive to manage.

The researchers say accurate forecasts will enable the amount of reserve power to be reduced, cutting costs for National Grid and the bill payers.

It will be a step forward for National Grid’s Control Room, which currently uses a system developed by the researchers to estimate the generation of solar in real-time.

The service is currently being trialled on the Sheffield Solar website, with plans for a half hourly forecast and regional forecasts planned for the future.

Google recently unveiled a new tool to calculate the solar viability of rooftops.