Renewable energy is set to define the future of Australia’a power industry, adding a whole different dimension to the planning required for electricity projects.
The range of variables associated with implementing a solar project successfully can present challenges to engineers in charge of such initiatives. In some cases, the solution lies in technology, with energy storage systems contributing additional features to these installations.
Other cases, however, demand extra resources in the planning and design stages to ensure projects go smoothly. Google has released tools – so far only available in the US – that could revolutionise the way engineers approach solar projects.
What technology is available?
Google recently unveiled tools that allow people to gain an overview of a location’s solar power potential. Dubbed Project Sunroof, the program compiles information from a range of sources to give users an idea of what they can expect from adding solar panels to their properties
The data Project Sunroof analyses for homeowners includes overhead images and maps, 3-D models of roof outlines and the affects of nearby vegetation, among other information.
Currently, Project Sunroof only includes a selection of cities throughout the US, with no news of when it could make its way to this side of the world. However, Google has already been beaten to the punch down under.
The Australian PV Institute (APVI) provides a service that – at its core – is the same is what Google is offering in the US, except it’s tailored to Australian engineers.
As with Project Sunroof, the APVI’s Solar Potential Tool measures the affects of nearby flora along with solar radiation, traditional weather patterns and a property’s area to assess its capability.
Can these technologies predict weather trends?
While the tools APVI and Google offer are based on past weather trends, another development funded by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) will attempt to look into the future.
A recent project debuted in Western Australia is the first in the country to harness the potential of Cloud Predictive Technology (CPT), allowing it to prepare for changes in the weather, making renewable energy installations more efficient.
Solar power systems are dependant on consistent energy from the sun, which can be compromised by rolling cloud cover or other weather events. The technology seeks to reduce the demand on grid stability systems, as installations will be able to react ahead of time.
To discover how solar power systems can benefit your next project, contact the expert team at MPower.