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Title: Integration of Behind-the-Meter PV Fleet Forecasts into Utility Grid System Operations

Four major research objectives were completed over the course of this study. Three of the objectives were to evaluate three, new, state-of-the-art solar irradiance forecasting models. The fourth objective was to improve the California Independent System Operator’s (ISO) load forecasts by integrating behind-the-meter (BTM) PV forecasts. The three, new, state-of-the-art solar irradiance forecasting models included: the infrared (IR) satellite-based cloud motion vector (CMV) model; the WRF-SolarCA model and variants; and the Optimized Deep Machine Learning (ODML)-training model. The first two forecasting models targeted known weaknesses in current operational solar forecasts. They were benchmarked against existing operational numerical weather prediction (NWP) forecasts, visible satellite CMV forecasts, and measured PV plant power production. IR CMV, WRF-SolarCA, and ODML-training forecasting models all improved the forecast to a significant degree. Improvements varied depending on time of day, cloudiness index, and geographic location. The fourth objective was to demonstrate that the California ISO’s load forecasts could be improved by integrating BTM PV forecasts. This objective represented the project’s most exciting and applicable gains. Operational BTM forecasts consisting of 200,000+ individual rooftop PV forecasts were delivered into the California ISO’s real-time automated load forecasting (ALFS) environment. They were then evaluated side-by-side with operational load forecasts withmore » no BTM-treatment. Overall, ALFS-BTM day-ahead (DA) forecasts performed better than baseline ALFS forecasts when compared to actual load data. Specifically, ALFS-BTM DA forecasts were observed to have the largest reduction of error during the afternoon on cloudy days. Shorter term 30 minute-ahead ALFS-BTM forecasts were shown to have less error under all sky conditions, especially during the morning time periods when traditional load forecasts often experience their largest uncertainties. This work culminated in a GO decision being made by the California ISO to include zonal BTM forecasts into its operational load forecasting system. The California ISO’s Manager of Short Term Forecasting, Jim Blatchford, summarized the research performed in this project with the following quote: “The behind-the-meter (BTM) California ISO region forecasting research performed by Clean Power Research and sponsored by the Department of Energy’s SUNRISE program was an opportunity to verify value and demonstrate improved load forecast capability. In 2016, the California ISO will be incorporating the BTM forecast into the Hour Ahead and Day Ahead load models to look for improvements in the overall load forecast accuracy as BTM PV capacity continues to grow.”« less
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  1. Clean Power Research, L.L.C., Napa, CA (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Clean Power Research, L.L.C., Napa, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE)
Contributing Orgs:
Univ. of California, San Diego, CA (United States); California ISO, Folsom, CA (United States); Itron, West Union, SC (United States)
Country of Publication:
United States
14 SOLAR ENERGY California ISO; Load forecast; Net load; Behind-the-Meter PV; Cloud motion vector forecast; WRF-SolarCA; Optimized Deep Machine Learning; Automated Load Forecast System; Irradiance; Solar data; Power forecast; Solar power forecast; Solar energy forecast; Solar irradiance data; SolarAnywhere; Solar anywhere; Pvsyst; Perez