Australian researchers have provided a comprehensive review of all the strategies and technologies that can be used to improve the dispatchability of solar power by reducing storage. They focused in particular on predicting and controlling solar power output.
“The main contribution of our work is to divide the development of photovoltaic integration into four stages that extend from the past to the future,” said Yang Du, lead author of the study. pv magazine, notes that its main goal is to highlight a research gap and motivate research on fully broadcast PV. “The paper defines forecasting, energy storage and containment as cornerstones for enabling future solar power transmission.”
The scientists focused especially on predicting and controlling the power of solar electricity. “This paper recommends the use of PV inverter control, i.e. capping, rather than energy storage through advanced solar forecasting as a major source of flexibility,” they explained, adding that currently efficient general solutions for converting PV to dispatch are still to be found. However, they acknowledged that solar power is becoming more predictable and manageable.
The paper presents all the existing technologies that could eventually facilitate the company’s production of solar electricity, which the group says is becoming especially urgent as more and more fossil fuel power generation equipment is phased out.
When it comes to predicting solar power output, the researchers described two main approaches – centralized prediction and self-prediction. The latter consists of a strategy implemented by the grid operator to obtain forecasts by collecting the export forecast of self-produced electricity from each PV system to which it is connected. The former is a strategy for obtaining predictions by centrally analyzing environmental data.
They also presented all possible strategies to achieve active PV system control. These include: adjusting the PV output below the maximum power point (MPP); controlled contraction; smoothing PV power; network support; PV prediction based control; and virtual power plant (VPP).
The research team also described all possible solutions that help solar power provide the company’s production. “Prediction, energy storage and managed containment are the three cornerstones of the company’s production,” it emphasized. “An electricity production unit that plans its production and follows the planned trajectory is therefore believed to be functional. However, efficient planning of the operation of the photovoltaic unit for control purposes has not been achieved.”
The researchers concluded that the missing link in this shift toward more dispatchable solar power is creating a framework for optimal decision-making for locating companies’ production facilities. “Future work is needed to enable design and generalize this capability to solar generating units regardless of system scale,” they concluded.
The strategies are presented in the study “Progress towards dispatchable solar power through forecasting, storage and constraints: a review”, published Research on electric power systems.