Cloud tracking system enters the Australian market – ARENA

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The CloudCAM tracking system allows solar power output to be accurately forecasted in advance of cloud shadows moving across solar panels. Source: theage.com.au

Sydney’s unique remote sensing technology developer Fulcrum3D has launched in Australia an advanced cloud tracking system that enables cheaper renewable energy by forecasting the power output of PV plants.

Following a pilot supported by AU$569,200 (US$417,200) from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), the first batch of CloudCAM cloud tracking systems has been sold to utility-scale solar customers.

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ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht cited the collaborative effort on sales as the latest example of ARENA financing resulting in tangible commercial outcomes.

“Cloud tracking allows solar power output to be accurately forecasted before cloud shadows move across solar panels,” Frischknecht said in a statement.

“This reduces the need for battery storage and informs market bidding, ultimately increasing solar energy yield, resulting in cheaper power.

“Fulcrum3D’s CloudCAM solution uses ground-mounted cameras to track cloud movements. The advanced technology can even track clouds that are layered at different altitudes and moving at different speeds.

“There is potential for this technology to be combined with the next wave of solar PV plants built in Australia, including those seeking funding through ARENA’s AU$100 million large-scale solar competitive funding round.”

Fulcrum3D technical director Colin Bonner noted that three new commercial solar sites have purchased trackers within the last month. This includes two high-penetration PV Epuron sites at Kalkarindji and Ti-Tree. At the latter station, the integration of the CloudCAM has not only increased revenue, but also alleviated demand from its storage system, increasing battery life.

According to Fulcrum3D, the latest development on the partnership includes ARENA-backed trails on advanced sensors which ultimately will aim to increase the tracker’s predictive capabilities in utility-scale power plants with large geographical footprints. 

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