Solar PV tuning

Solcast’s tuning technology learns from your solar farm or rooftop system output data to provide you with better forecasts.

What is Solar PV tuning?

Solar installations are complicated – parts are often split amongst several arrays which are impacted by variations in topography, orientation, shade, dirt and degradation. Solcast’s tuning technology takes these factors, plus power output, solar irradiance and weather data, to learn the real characteristics of your PV plant.

Better forecasts are possible with tuning because it:

  • Captures the impacts of shading on your system, including vegetation, topography and surrounding infrastructure
  • Detects the orientation of your PV system (azimuth and tilt angles)
  • Senses the degradation of your PV system and assigns it a loss factor
  • Individualises the way your PV system responds to cloud cover
  • Uses these learned parameters to provide you with an improved solar forecast specific to that asset
  • Capture Shading Impacts
  • Detect Degradation, Estimate Tilt
  • Identify Azimuth Angles
  • Individualise Cloud Impacts
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Solcast’s tuning technology is (almost) magic

Using detailed PV plant specifications makes sense when you are modelling a system before commissioning or during early operations. However, Solcast’s experience in solar forecasting shows that better results are obtained when physical assumptions are reduced and actual real PV power measurements are used. Solcast tuning technology uses a simplified PV power conversion model that connects solar radiation data from our global rapidly updated forecasts with your PV measurements.

Tuning is offered as an option with Utility Scale Forecasts (includes manual supervision of initial tuning and capacity to deal with availability and curtailment data). A basic version of tuning comes included with Rooftop Forecasts too. Both products can be started without PV tuning, and added later if you decide to try the technology.

Customers benefit from Solcast PV tuning when:

  • The most accurate utility scale solar farm forecast is crucial, such as when operating in an energy dispatch market
  • Rooftop forecasting applications involve storage control or demand management applications
  • PV system specifications are not available or unreliable and PV system orientations and loss factors need to fit using measured data
  • Managing highly unique sites, such as those with complex shading profiles, multiple orientations, significant ground reflectance or multiple PV module technologies

Start using Solcast’s PV tuning technology today

You can test PV Tuning for yourself. Simply add your system as a new Utility Scale or Rooftop site and upload recent site-total PV power output measurements at 1 minute (recommended) to 15 minute (the coarsest data we can tune with) granularity. Three months of data (ending in the last week) is the minimum requirement, but a full year of measurement data is ideal. The PV tuning technology can also handle plant availability and constraint/curtailment data. Data is typically exported from your SCADA system or inverter provider. See our sample files here and contact us with a tuning evaluation request today!

Your data is confidential

Solcast will ensure the utmost confidentiality of your data and a non-disclosure agreement is standard when you upload data. Your data remains yours – you can have your measurements deleted from the system at any time.

Automate data sharing for the best results

For ongoing PV tuning users, it is recommended that you set up near-real-time POSTing of the power output measurements to the API (check out the documentation). Solcast uses this data to update tuning algorithms and to show you recent accuracy performance on graphs. For Utility Scale sites, this opens up the option of Super-Rapid Update forecasts and sky imager integrations.

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