How weather forecasting can impact solar diesel hybrid systems

The adoption of solar diesel hybrid applications is rising with the increase in calls to lower carbon emissions, states a German energy consulting company.

According to THENERGY, solar diesel hybrid solutions are being applied to rural electrification projects as well as in powering telecommunication substations, and the mining and hotel industries.

The cost-effectiveness nature of the system as a result of the continued decrease in solar PVs in recent years compared to traditional sources of power such as coal and diesel has also driven the increase in adoption of the platform.

The technology is also backed up by a number of innovations in solutions allowing the integration.

However, the intermittency of the system often poses a challenge for the system, states THENERGY.

To help meet up the challenge, the energy consulting company in collaboration with solar energy technology provider Steady Sun issued a whitepaper comprising recommendations on how the system can be improved.

Solar diesel hybrid – maintenance

The paper ‘Energy Generation Forecasting in Solar Diesel-Hybrid Applications’ discusses how forecasting can help in the maintenance of the system.

The paper also analyses the consequences for the investment, operating and maintenance costs of the system.

According to the recommendations, weather forecasting would help in the stabilisation of the system in the sense that operators can have an insight into how much electricity can be generated on a certain day. They can then plan to run their diesel gensets to provide spinning reserve during shading of PV generation.

The platform can significantly reduce the Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE) of solar-diesel hybrid systems as this increase the lifetime of batteries by reducing the number of number of charging/discharging cycles, states the report.

In addition, O&M costs can be decreased by operating the gensets at more efficient generator load levels.

Battery storage

Forecasting would also provide operators with the knowledge of when to employ battery storage and how much power can be stored  for use as back during PV shading or when switching on to their diesel gen sets.

THENERGY claims battery storage can improve the quality of power produced by the system.

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Nicholas Nhede is an experienced energy sector writer based in Clarion Event's Cape Town office. He has been writing for Smart Energy International’s print and online media platforms since 2015, on topics including metering, smart grids, renewable energy, the Internet of Things, distributed energy resources and smart cities. Originally from Zimbabwe, Nicholas holds a diploma in Journalism and Communication Studies. Nicholas has a passion for how technology can be used to accelerate the energy transition and combat climate change.