O&M, Solar, Wind

NCAR to create 36-hour energy forecast for solar power projects

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The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) is leading a three-year nationwide project to create 36-hour forecasts of incoming energy from the sun for solar energy power plants. The works will be funded primarily with a $4.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy.

The research team is designing a prototype system that will forecast sunlight and resulting power every 15 minutes over specific solar facilities, allowing utilities to continuously anticipate the amount of available solar energy. The work will draw on research techniques at government labs and universities across the U.S. in partnership with utilities, other energy companies and commercial forecast providers.

NCAR has previously worked with renewable energy, designing a wind energy forecasting system with Xcel Energy (NYSE: XEL) that saved Xcel ratepayers an estimated $6 million in a single year, according to the center. NCAR is also creating advanced predication capabilities to allow wind farm developers to anticipate wind energy potential anywhere in the world.

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