Solutions How it Works

How it works

The Proa Forecasting System (PFS) uses multiple methods to provide an optimal combined solar forecast for all time scales.

Ashburn
39.0437° N
77.4742° W

Optimal forecast mix

Each forecast component is calculated independently, using independent input data, which creates redundancy and increases overall reliability.

  • Skycam Cloud Motion Vectoring forecasts (CMV): images of the entire sky above a solar farm or PV system are taken by our onsite cameras, and advanced algorithms detect clouds and track their motion.
  • Satellite CMV: images of the entire Australian continent are taken by the Himawari-8 meteorological satellite every 10 minutes, and clouds are again detected and tracked. The combination of both skycam and satellite images together provides extraordinarily detailed information on cloud motion.
  • Live data forecasts (LDF): real time monitoring of the generation of a single system, or a group of PV systems, is used to estimate the current cloud cover for a location or region.
  • Numerical Weather Prediction forecasts (NWP): dynamic equations and physical models of the atmosphere to estimate cloud formation and dissipation, and hence solar irradiance. The PFS uses several global and mesoscale NWP models.

The PFS forecast combines each of these methods, with optimal weights as a function of the forecast horizon, so that the combined forecast has the best performance over all time scales.

Night forecasts

The PFS uses proprietary algorithms and infrared satellite images to detect clouds at night. This enables accurate forecasts in the hours before dawn which assists solar farm operational decisions. For example: should a battery at a solar farm discharge 2 hours before sunrise to take advantage of a price spike, and will there be clear skies in the morning to recharge?

Night Ir Vision

Clouds at night over Tasmania and Victoria, before and after night IR vision

Skycams

Proa skycams provide the best forecasts for short time scales — up to 15 minutes ahead. Proa is proud to partner with Sieltec Canarias, a leading manufacturer and supplier of skycams and weather sensors, and has developed new techniques to track and predict cloud motion using skycam images.

Skycam Forecasts

Satellite forecasts

Proa can provide accurate forecasts for any location in Australia using our state-of-the-art satellite forecasts. These satellite forecasts do not require any equipment installed at a site and so are extremely economical. They are almost as good as skycam forecasts for up to 15 minutes ahead, and the best forecast method up to 6 hours ahead. Proa can in fact forecast at any location between India and Hawai’i using the Himawari-8 satellite images, and other locations will be available soon.

Himawari-8 satellite image

Live data forecasts

Proa incorporates live data from a solar farm or system to increase forecast accuracy, especially . For solar farms, SCADA data can be transmitted securely via MODBUS VPN, https POST API, or, for customers of our partner HARD software, using the pre-built SCADA Infolite interface.

 

Numerical weather prediction (NWP)

Proa includes numerical forecasts for the best weather agencies in the world, including Australia’s own Bureau of Meteorology (BOM), the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) and the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

Numerical Weather Forecasts

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