„We have developed a tool that predicts how much energy a particular solar power plant or park will produce in the future. This is something that should be considered relevant with large fleets and small producers – if we predict that your solar power plant will produce X amount of energy but it produces Y amount – and in most cases it will be less than predicted – then the business needs to find out why this happened and pay a fine for difference.
One possibility is a fault in the solar power plant, a second one environmental factors, both of which may lead to reduced production. With an accurate forecast, it is possible to analyse the problems one has to contend with in connection with a solar power plant,“ said Dr. Robertas Janickas, Chief Technology Officer at Inion Software, about the new tool.
The tool analyses weather forecasts and makes comparisons with nearby solar power plants
The tool evaluates a specific solar power plant based on the capacity of its solar modules, its location, the angle of its construction and more, while also analysing the weather, the model of the solar power plant and technical parameters, and it uses this data to predict how much energy will be produced. Weather parameters include temperature, precipitation, cloud cover, and sun position. The AI consults several different sources of meteorological data to determine the most accurate forecast.
The company's artificial intelligence tool is able to provide the most accurate forecasts for the next day. It can forecast production over more extended periods; however, the longer the period, the less accurate the forecast. The primary influence on the forecast is cloud cover, which is difficult for meteorologists to predict over a longer period. Clouds change the air temperature and brightness at a particular solar power plant location, and this means that its production output will change.
From the point of the concept of the tool, it took a year to get it launched (this happened this year). Still, the tool needs to be more comprehensive – it needs to be constantly updated, trained, refined and continuously monitored to see how it can be improved.
„The market currently offers separate forecasting and monitoring services, and we have combined the two into a single one so that customers don't need to check different data sources. We also offer a service called Clear Sky, which allows customers to see how much energy a solar power plant can produce on a given day under ideal conditions. Also, artificial intelligence can analyse the productivity of nearby solar power plants and include it in the comparison before calculating an average based on the same weather conditions and location,“ Janickas said.
Anticipate future failures
In the future, Inion Software will be bringing even more innovations using artificial intelligence into the market. A project with the Norwegians is currently underway; once completed, this tool will be able to predict future solar power plant failures. Another benefit of it is that it will not need to check each panel individually when a fault occurs – this is particularly important with large solar farms. Even before a fault occurs, the new tool will acknowledge the discrepancy in the productivity schedule compared to neighbouring solar power plants and existing historical production figures.
Inion Software is planning to develop a feature to assess when cleaning solar panels is financially beneficial, based on production volume and cost-effectiveness compared to energy loss.
Inion Software develops monitoring and analysis tools for use in solar power plants, where demand is growing in line with the need for solar power plants. The company has also brought into the market a number of smart battery management systems that use artificial intelligence algorithms to predict and select the most efficient scenario for charging and selling electricity to customers. The success of the company and the relevance of its products are reflected in the figures – Inion Software saw an increase in its sales of 300% in the first half of this year alone.