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An intelligent metering device for predicting the output of photovoltaic systems

Country of Origin: Macedonia, The former Yugoslav Republic of
Reference Number: TOMK20180711001
Publication Date: 13 July 2018

Summary

A Macedonian company offers a solution for advanced forecasting, monitoring, optimization and proactive management of the output of photovoltaic systems. The solution measures irradiation, temperature and humidity in more precise manner and uses meteorological data from various sources for predictions’ modelling. 
Partnership for evaluation and testing the solution under the terms of technical cooperation agreement is sought.

Description

Worldwide growth of photovoltaics (PV) is a continuous exponential curve, evolving from a niche market of small scale applications to a mainstream electricity source. Nevertheless, frequently varying output of PV caused by clouds movement and weather condition make it an intermittent and unreliable source when connected to grid. Connecting intermittent sources to grid introduces challenges in various technical aspects such as power quality, protection, generation dispatch control and reliability. In this context, the use of advanced forecasting of variable generation has become an essential strategy, allowing users to proactively manage the system’s output and maintain grid’s stability. Moreover, evaluation of performance in highly variable conditions is difficult without the use of precise data.

When calculating the expected power yield from a system, there are many uncertainties in the estimation, but the solar resource estimate is the highest driver to the uncertainty that typically ranges from 5% to 17%.

There are mainly two types of data from which we can take insights about the solar resource variable: modeled data sources and on-site measurements. Modeled data sources have measurement uncertainties in the 8 to 15% range. On-site measured data usually have a measurement uncertainty between 2 and 7%. Short-term quality measurements can be used to correct modeled data sources and improve their certainty. By comparison and validation of satellite based models, the uncertainty can be reduced by 2% to 6%. Short time on-site measurements can increase P90 by over 5%, and P99 by over 10%.

The solution consists of a portable meteorological station which is installed on the location of the photovoltaic system and centralized database with web based software interface.

The data from the sensors can be used for:

- Assessment of solar resource variable for prospective PV plants, therefore reducing the risk and increasing feasibility of the project.
- Monitoring of existing PV systems, providing early fault detection and continuous evaluation of system performance, resulting with increased system availability and increased performance
- Evaluation of soiling
- Evaluation of system degradation rate
- Evaluation of system performance
- Optimization of the technical specification of system components by simulation of power yield

The Macedonian company has developed a functional prototype and currently needs a partner that will test and evaluate the solution. The feedback will be used to improve and bring the solution to a higher TRL. Technical cooperation agreement is possible, enabling joint further development of the technical aspects and later exploitation of the improved solution for the benefit of both parties.
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Advantages and Innovations

- 2% to 6% higher certainty when evaluating solar resource potential
- Increased system availability and performance by early fault detection
- Increased system performance by optimization of components' specification, aided by simulation of power yield
- Improved TMY data by use of on-site measurements
- API and integration with other PV evaluation and monitoring systems

Stage Of Development

Prototype available for demonstration

Requested partner

The company has created an operational prototype and is in search of partners that have relevant expertise to test the functionality of the solution. The Macedonian company proposes technical cooperation agreement enabling joint further development of the technical aspects and later exploitation of the improved solution for the benefit of both parties. Targeted partners sought include EPC companies, utility companies and SMEs that utilize photovoltaic systems for energy generation.

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