|9 November 2016|

Australia

A groundbreaking new solar farm at an Australian airport is to adopt solar power and cloud prediction technology in a strategy designed to  drive down costs while offering more reliable renewable energy.

Backed by $2.3 million of support from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENASunEdison Australia has completed the pioneering $7.3 million 1 MW Karratha Airport Solar Farm. It will now benefit from another ARENA funded project, Fulcrum3D’s CloudCAM solution, which will operate at the site to to track clouds and optimise the amount of solar power produced at the airport.

ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht said: “Cloud prediction makes solar cheaper and more reliable while reducing the need for batteries. That’s what makes this project so exciting.

“The technology is in its infancy. This is one of the first commercial trials in Australia and will be crucial for proving the technology’s feasibility.”

A 21 year agreement will see the City of Karratha buy power from the solar plant.

“Combined with innovative control systems developed by MPower, the technology makes solar cheaper and reduces intermittency by giving the operators a clearer picture of the solar resource they can expect in the immediate future,” Mr Frischknecht continued.

“As large-scale solar ramps up in Australia, spurred on by ARENA support, there will be more opportunities for cloud prediction technology to work alongside solar farms and ultimately accelerate the deployment of solar across Australia.

“Insights from the operation of Karratha Airport Solar Farm will be made publically available and will focus on the performance of the cloud predictive technology.”