High-Fidelity Solar Power Forecasting Systems for the 392 MW Ivanpah Solar Plant (CSP) and the 250 MW California Valley Solar Ranch (PV)

Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System

Improving forecasting methods at the Ivanpah Solar Thermal plant

Project Overview

Recipient: The Regents of the University of California, San Diego

Program: EPIC

Award Amount: $999,898

Co-funded Amount: $764,019

Agreement Number: EPC-14-008

Project Term: 1/15/2015 - 3/15/2018

Project Status: Active

Recipient Location:  La Jolla, CA

Site Location(s):  Nipton, CA; Santa Margarita, CA

The Issue

Accurate forecasting tools for solar irradiance and solar power output have the potential to increase the reliability of California's energy supply, and the ability to optimize the dispatch of energy sources by reducing the uncertainty created by fast-changing weather conditions. High fidelity solar forecasting is an enabling technology for increasing solar penetration into the grid. However, there is a lack of well-developed forecasting models for components of solar irradiance that are critical to concentrating solar technologies, especially Direct Normal Irradiance (DNI) and Plane of Array (POA), and current high-density ground telemetry is still expensive for many solar power plants.

Project Innovation

The purpose of this project is the development and validation of tools capable of monitoring and forecasting DNI and POA irradiance and the power generation accurately, from 5 minutes out to 72 hours in the future, mainly at the Ivanpah Solar Thermal plant, but also at the California Valley Solar Ranch (CVSR) plant. The project also includes the development of tools for predicting wind speed, which affects the heliostats' deployment, and improve the power generation forecast via Resource-to-Power Model (RTP) for Ivanpah CSP and CVSR (Tracking PV) plants. The goal of this system is aimed at reducing uncertainties associated with operation, regulation and scheduling of Ivanpah. The new forecast models will be used as a feed forward input to the RTP model in the solar field controls system that will enable the solar field to preemptively position itself for weather transients.

Project Benefits

This project introduces a new generation of forecasting methods that fill in a technology gap in prediction DNI, POA irradiance and solar power generation from PV tracking and CSP. This critical need is evident by the relative scarcity of DNI forecasting algorithms discussed in scientific literature and the absence of DNI information from the majority of NWP models. The development of a network of low-cost sensors for distributed monitoring at California Valley Solar Ranch (CVSR) provides a solution to the need for high-density ground telemetry at low cost. The devices provide an unprecedented level of irradiance sensor density, which will be used to develop a new generation of solar forecasting methods. Short-term forecast using sky imagers and distributed data from sensor network improves forecasted data and prepares CVSR for the California ISO intra-hour market.

Lower Costs: The project developed and validated models that lead to lower operation costs and consumer cost per solar kWh due to: 1) increased ability to absorb short-term ramps and maintain solar production, 2) better utilization of ancillary generation, 3) enhanced capacity of utility-scale CSP power plants due to improved prediction of resource and power output, 4) better integration of solar assets with utility and ISO operations, and 5) decreased down-time tripping events due to solar variability.

Greater Reliability: The tools developed in this project result in greater reliability by developing high-fidelity models that increase the accuracy of solar energy forecasting to decrease the number of forced outages and associated ancillary reserves.

Economic Development: The forecasting tools developed in this project will help economic development by reducing solar power plant operating cost by more than 10% and having the ability to substantially affect the effective solar capacity in California. Additionally, the project has created skilled jobs and prepared talented people with research skills for the California job market.

Environmental Benefits: The project will result in GHG emission reductions by decreasing the uncertainty associated with solar power generation to diminish the need of fossil fuel generation.




Project Overview

Recipient: The Regents of the University of California, San Diego

Program: EPIC

Award Amount: $999,898

Co-funded Amount: $764,019

Agreement Number: EPC-14-008

Project Term: 1/15/2015 - 3/15/2018

Project Status: Active

Recipient Location:  La Jolla, CA

Site Location(s):  Nipton, CA; Santa Margarita, CA

Project Team

CEC Project Manager: Silvia Palma-Rojas

Recipient Contact: Carlos Coimbra

Match Partner(s): Itron, Inc. dba IBS; NRG Energy, Inc.

Subcontractor(s): Itron, Inc. dba IBS; NRG Energy, Inc.


 

 

For questions or additional information, please email RandDProjectinfo@energy.ca.gov

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