The information in this article is no longer relevant to our product offering, and PV Tuning has now been decommissioned.
You can read more about this development in this article
Solcast’s Tuning Technology is (almost) magic. It learns the real characteristics of your PV plant, using your measured power output data and our solar irradiance and weather data. And here’s the best part - Tuning is a part of our standard offering on our both our Utility Scale and Rooftop forecasting products!
What is Solar PV Tuning?
Solar installations are often quite complicated! Modules and other hardware are often split amongst several arrays, impacted by topography, have widely varying orientations, are often shaded, can be dirty and also experience different rates of degradation. The magic of our tuning technologies is that we take care of all of this nuance for you. PV Tuning:
Captures the impacts of shading on your system, including vegetation, topography and surrounding infrastructure
Detects the orientation of your PV system (azimuth and tilt angles)
Senses the degradation of your PV system, assigning it a loss factor
Individualises the way your PV system respond to a given level of cloud cover
Uses these learned parameters to provide you with an improved solar forecast specific to that asset
Why use Solar PV Tuning?
Why? Using detailed and complex PV plant specifications makes sense when you are modelling a system before it enters operations, or in the first few weeks of operations. However, for an operating plant, our extensive experience in solar modelling & forecasting has shown much better results are obtained by relaxing physical assumptions and using the actual, real PV power measurements. Our approach uses a simplified PV power conversion model, which connects the solar radiation data produced by our global, rapid-update cloud nowcasting system with your PV measurement data.
PV Tuning is totally optional, but helps most when accuracy counts
Tuning comes as an included option with our Utility Scale Forecasts (includes manual supervision of initial tuning and capacity to deal with availability and curtailment data). A basic version of tuning comes included with our Rooftop Forecasts too. For both products, PV Tuning is purely optional - you can start using our power forecasts without any tuning data by adding your site location and basic specifications, and then you can try tuning at a later data, if you wish.
We find that our customers use Solcast’s PV Tuning Technology when:
The most accurate utility scale solar farm forecast is crucial, such as for operating in an energy dispatch market
For rooftop forecasting applications which involve storage control or demand management applications
The PV system specifications are not available or not reliable and PV system orientations and loss factors need to be fit using measured data.
Highly unique sites, such as those with complex shading profiles, multiple orientations, significant ground reflectance or multiple PV module technologies
Start working with our PV Tuning Technologies now!
You can test PV Tuning for yourself right now. Simply add your site as a new Utility Scale or Rooftop site, and then upload the recent history of your site-total PV power output measurements at 5, 10, 15 or 30 minute granularity. If you have plant availability and constraint/curtailment data, we’ll take that too. The data is typically exported from your SCADA system or inverter provider.
How many measurements are required? Two months of data that ends in the last two weeks is the minimum requirement, and a full year of measurement data is ideal.
An NDA comes standard when you upload data, and Solcast ensure the utmost confidentiality of your data. If you ever want to delete your measurements from our system, you can.
For ongoing tuning users, we recommend setting up near-real-time POSTing of the power output measurements to our API (check out the documentation). We use this data to update our tuning algorithms, to show you recent accuracy performance on graphs, and for Utility Scale sites this opens the option of super-rapid forecast updates and sky imager integrations.