WHY Solar Forecasting will disrupt the Energy Storage Market

When it comes down to addressing the mismatch between energy demand and energy generation, the storage of solar energy is one of the most (if not the most) promising technologies.

Consequently, established companies, startups and newly-arrived players are positioning themselves in the power electronics and batteries market, preparing for expected business growth. However, since this market is in a very preliminary stage, energy policies applied from now on will play a vital role in its development.

We can find a good example ofthis in the Self-Generation Incentive program that has been implemented in California. Measures of this nature contribute to driving scale, what will eventually lead to bringing overall costs down.

California is among the top global leaders in solar generation. In July 2016, the state of California generated 8 GW of utility power and 4 GW of private generation. Their expectations are to reach a point where by 2020 33% of California’s electricity will come from renewables, reaching 50% by 2030. These objectives were adopted by the storage market as well, as the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) set a 1.325 MW procurement target for electricity storage by 2020. However, in light of how the renewable share is rapidly increasing, California is even considering setting more ambitious objectives.

One particularity of energy storage is that its potential is bound to the capacity of the generation system attached to it. Thus, for the case of Solar Energy Storage, its capacity and reliability depend entirely on the available solar resource and the fluctuations of local weather. This creates a situation in which a strong, new feature is added to the system even while all the previous uncertainty is upheld within it.

This gives rise to an obvious need of implementing a methodology that could help the operator of the grid to know exactly how much energy will be stored (and thus, be available) in the system at a given moment, hours in advance. Here is where the synergy between Energy Forecasting and Energy Storage becomes clear.

A strong Solar Forecasting system allows the players of the electric market not only to know the instantaneous available power, but the unconsumed energy that will be stored in batteries for posterior use. This adds a whole new layer of middle-ground reservoirs that increases the reliability of the system to new heights.

Aware of the huge impact that forecasting technologies have on the efficiency of a grid with such a huge penetration of renewables, the players in the electricity market have been putting their trust in and investing in forecasting technologies for the past few years.

As a leading company in the field of energy forecasting, Nnergix has been present in all fairs and conventions with relevant impact on the solar market. We’ve recently exhibited our services and products at the SPI convention that took place in Las Vegas (September 2016) and the InterSolar Europe fair in Munich. At these events, we could perceive the clear tendency and growing interest of the market in leaning towards implementing forecasting solutions to add value to hybrid solar PV storage systems.

Solar forecasting will play a critical role in the integration of Utility Scale Renewable Energy.  Recent integration studies by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and General Electric (GE) using 2020 renewable integration scenarios have shown economic values of renewable forecasting of $5 billion/year under 2020 USRE scenarios for the Western Electricity Coordinating Council (WECC) alone.