Solcast historical data bankability, validated by DNV

07 February 2024

Solcast Bankability: DNV publishes bankability report and validation of Solcast's historical and TMY data

Read the Bankability Report on the DNV website

Solcast, leading provider of solar irradiance and weather data history and forecasting for solar energy, has achieved a new milestone as adoption of its data accelerates. A comprehensive study conducted by leading global independent energy expert and assurance provider DNV has reviewed the bankability of and validated Solcast's satellite-derived irradiance data across more than 200 sites globally. The study builds on previous DNV validation exercises conducted prior to acquiring Solcast, and prior to the use of Solcast data in its advisory work.

Solcast's solar irradiance data empowers the solar power industry to deliver reliable electricity to rapidly expanding markets. By integrating real time, cloud-tracking solar irradiance data into renewable energy assets and hybrid storage systems, customers can strategically monitor, plan and dispatch energy on demand, optimizing the value of each solar power plant. With highly differentiated technology utilizing global weather data, live satellite imagery, machine learning, and computer vision, Solcast generates over 600 million hourly forecasts in a cloud-based environment, and makes this data available through an enterprise grade API. Solcast has 300+ customers and 60,000+ users globally . Real-time access to high-quality, bankable live and historical actuals, and accurate short-term forecasts allows Solcast customers to enhance power plant operations, assess losses, improve performance, and ultimately reduce costs while maximizing system and portfolio productivity.

The initial phase of validation was conducted as part of DNV's due diligence before acquiring Solcast in early 2023. A global team of DNV experts carried out the work, ensuring it adheres to the rigorous standards of independent validation. Solcast’s global data set has been validated across 207 sites distributed globally across regions and climate zones, ensuring the data is suitable for use in solar power applications anywhere in the world. Many of the sites included in the validation were from DNV measurement campaigns, in solar development regions and with a high standard of sensor cleaning, calibration and maintenance.

The study found a mean bias for GHI across all sites of +0.33%, with a standard deviation of ±2.47%, data for the highest quality measurement sites had a mean bias of +0.05% and a standard deviation of ±2.05%. With forecasts estimating that by 2050, 30% of all electricity will come from solar PV, the need for reliable data analytics and trusted monitoring systems in the energy market is growing rapidly. "As the global energy industry navigates through a transformative phase, Solcast's bankable satellite irradiance data is a key enabler for informed decision-making," said James Luffman, CEO of Solcast. "This is a significant milestone, there is now a validated bankable irradiance data set available to the industry that can be delivered through a responsive digital-first API."

No. of Sites Mean Bias Bias Std. Dev.
GHI Quality Sites 53 +0.05% ±2.05%
GHI All Sites 207 +0.33% ±2.47%
DNI All Sites 117 +1.50% ±5.75%

Source: DNV

See how these results compare to both free and paid alternatives in the market here.

The study underscores the importance of highly managed and maintained measurements for achieving high-quality satellite irradiance. Very high quality irradiance data like Solcast’s approaches the expected accuracy of on-site pyranometer fleets, making sourcing high quality measurement data essential to large scale validation studies like this. The study showed lower bias, and lower standard deviation for GHI data in sites with the highest quality measurements, suggesting that satellite irradiance data can now be as accurate as all but the highest standard of on-site measurements.

“Powering the energy transition requires data that is purpose-made and validated for applications in the solar industry, and this study has tested Solcast data to that level. We're excited to see the new and innovative ways this data will continue to be used by the industry.” said Lucy Craig, Vice President and Director of Growth, Innovation and Digital, Energy Systems at DNV.

About Solcast

Solcast is a leading provider of solar irradiance data and forecasting technology, delivering data to over 350 customers that manage more than 300GW of assets globally. Solcast produces this data by tracking clouds and aerosols at 1-2km resolution globally, using satellite imagery, global weather data and proprietary AI/ML algorithms to produce over 600 million forecasts every hour. Since 2016 the Solcast API has been bringing accurate data to the market and helping enable the energy industry to deliver the resilient power grids it will take to build a solar-powered future. Solcast became a DNV company in early 2023.

About DNV

DNV is an independent assurance and risk management provider, operating in more than 100 countries, with the purpose of safeguarding life, property, and the environment. As a trusted voice for many of the world’s most successful organizations, we help seize opportunities and tackle the risks arising from global transformations. We use our broad experience and deep expertise to advance safety and sustainable performance, set industry standards, and inspire and invent solutions.

We provide assurance to the entire energy value chain through our advisory, monitoring, verification, and certification services. As the world’s leading resource of independent energy experts and technical advisors, we help industries and governments to navigate the many complex, interrelated transitions taking place globally and regionally, in the energy industry. We are committed to realizing the goals of the Paris Agreement, and support our customers to transition faster to a deeply decarbonized energy system.

James Luffman

James Luffman

Solcast CEO • Author

James is a former operational meteorologist, and has worked as a senior manager in the weather industry. James has designed, built and operated real-time modelling systems for industrial applications, bringing key expertise to the deployment of our operational products and services.

James sees the integration of increasing solar and storage as a singularly critical technology challenge of the next 10 years.