PV Energy Forecasting

Turning Variability Into Predictability

Technologies & Capabilities /  Operations & Maintenance /  Energy Forecasting
We incorporated forecasting and energy scheduling capabilities to ensure bulk power system reliability and dependable operations. By utilizing satellite imagery and proprietary software, we provide PV forecasts that can be integrated into daily demand schedules and used for real-time energy trading.


As a registered operator of more than 1GW of utility-scale PV power plants, we are in regular communication with highly regulated grid authorities such as the California Independent System Operator (CAISO). We provide various reports over multiple timescales to utilities and grid operators, increasing the predictability of our PV power plants.

Type

Based On

Yearly
  • Weather predictions and patterns
  • Planned maintenance outages
  • Historical data complied on similar plant performance
Monthly
  • Weather forecasts from satellite metrological data
  • Scheduled maintenance outages
  • Experience and expertise on plant performance and compiled data
Daily
  • Actual weather information from satellite and site-based data
  • Scheduled maintenance outages
  • Tracking plant performance
Hourly
  • Actual weather information
  • Actual outages
  • Actual plant performance

Weather Forecast

Energy Forecast

Forecast Delivery

  • Satellite images downloaded and processed
  • Global Horizontal Irradiance (GHI) predicted
  • Plane of Array (POA) irradiance transposed from GHI
  • Plant model receives forecasted POA and outputs energy prediction in MWh
  • Forecast is adjusted for outages
  • Automated delivery is scheduled by Western Electricity Coordinating Council (WEEC) calendar or other customer requirements
  • Forecast is delivered by FTP, SFTP, or email
Our forecasting and energy scheduling capabilities provide accurate energy forecasts over multiple timescales that integrate within the communications systems of utilities and grid operators. Our hour-ahead energy forecasts deliver over 90% accuracy, turning variability into predictability. Our day ahead energy forecasts are over 85% accurate.

Forecasting Dashboard

*Forecasting accuracy measure by MAPE (Mean Absolute Percentage Error)

Combined with our proprietary plant control system, our forecasting and energy scheduling capabilities address some of the primary concerns associated with integrating increased penetration of solar into the electricity grid. First Solar offers solutions to integrating variable generation resources that maintain grid reliability and stability and support daily load balancing.

Timescale

Concern

Solution 

Milliseconds to Minutes The grid is balancing fluctuations between supply and demand instantaneously.  Solar presents risks to overall grid reliability, including the stability of voltage and frequency. First Solar’s Plant Control System provides advanced plant features that actively stabilize the electricity grid, including voltage and frequency regulation, real power control, and fault ride through.
Hours to Days Grid operators are balancing supply and demand for the forecasted load over the next 24 hours. The variability of solar adds complexity to the daily load balancing process. First Solar’s forecasting and energy scheduling capabilities provide accurate energy forecasts that can be integrated into daily demand schedules.

Technologies & Capabilities

Grid Integration
Grid Integration
Plant Design
Plant Design & Engineering
Project Development
Project Development
Project Finance
Project Finance
Advanced PV Modules
Advanced PV Modules
Balance of Systems
Balance of Systems Technologies
Mounting Systems
Mounting Systems
Construction Management
Procurement & Construction Management
Operations and Maintenance
Operations & Maintenance

Recycling Services