The Future of Solar

A Hybrid Approach to Probabilistic Solar Forecasting

The solar industry needs more accurate solar forecasting which is why the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office sponsored the American-Made Solar Forecasting Prize. This competition was designed to incentivize the advancement of probabilistic methods for day ahead models that incorporated weather-related uncertainties such as cloud coverage. One of the Prize winners announced in March 2022 was Dr. Wenyuan Tang, an Assistant Professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering and FREEDM researcher.  He proposed a hybrid approach to probabilistic forecasting that has low data cost and low computational costs. It includes learning from many base models, as well as physical and statistical models, to provide a comprehensive tool for both forecasting and grid optimization. This model is available for licensing. More technical details are provided in the references below.

Utility Scale PV Power Optimization and Prediction Software Package

NCSU researchers led by Dr. Ning Lu created two software applications that dramatically increase utility scale PV power stability and increase accuracy and resolution of predicted power output. PV forecasting is improved through Temporal Convolutional Networks applied to historical power production from nearby PV farms. Power regulation applies a novel Perturb and Observe technique to achieve faster set point convergence than existing methods. Together, these applications lead to higher revenue for system operators.

Novel Inverter Topology is Finalist for Solar Prize

A FREEDM spinoff, NC Solar Inverters, is a finalist for Round 6 of the American Made Solar Prize. Ken Dulaney and Wensong Yu formed the company after licensing technology for a new type of solar inverter that uses complex controls to combine high frequency switching devices with low frequency switching devices for reliable performance at lower cost and lower losses than today’s state of the art for solar inverters. The team is a Finalist for the Go! stage of the competition and will present their 50 kW prototype and business plan at RE+ 2023 in Las Vegas in September.