The Solcast API
Solar radiation and PV system power output data are important to have, but hard to access. Solcast's API services are solving that problem.
As a part of my personal commitment to smoothing the transition to high penetrations of solar energy generation and raising the allowable levels of solar technologies in our electricity grids, I've identified three key challenges which hold back our researchers, analysts, engineers and software developers from building the solar-powered future:
Challenge #1 Access
First, solar radiation data is too difficult to access, and too often relies on climatological averages. TMY solar data? Give me a break. That won't help us build the future grid. We need high resolution, readily accessible data. Now. Don't worry, Solcast has you covered, with 1km resolution, 10 minute update, Himawari 8 based solar radiation fields and world-wide forecasting.
Second, for solar integration, cloud cover based intermittency creates significant difficulties. Solcast can't remove the clouds, but we can remove the uncertainty about when and where the sun will shine. By combining satellite, numerical weather model and PV system data sources, we've built a high accuracy solar forecasting system, that anyone can access.
Challenge #3 Analytics
Third, PV system simulations and forecasts are far too complex. You simply don't need the incredible levels of detail that most modelling systems require, to estimate your future solar generation availability. The complexity should instead focus on real-world operations of those PV systems - on problems like shading, soiling and system level inefficiences.
IN response: I've designed Solcast's API services to address the above three challenges, head on.
In the bigger picture, our API services reflect my personal philosophy of enablement - that is, if we focus on how to enable one another to do great things, big, rapid, upheaval level changes are possible. That's exactly what our electricity sector's transition to sustainability needs. So let's do this!
What Does the Solcast API Enable YOU to Do?
Our API allows a user to retrieve forecasts of solar radiation from 0-7 days at any location on Earth. This includes the global, direct and diffuse components of radiation, featuring support from the Engerer2 separation model.
PV Power output
Provide a capacity, tilt, azimuth, and even a loss factor, and we'll forecast the power output of that PV system from 0-7 days. Soon, we'll add tuning where you provide a power output feed from your PV system, and we personalise your forecast.
There are 1.5M+ small-scale solar PV systems installed across Australia. We remove the uncertainty in their contributions to the energy market, through modelling & forecasting their power output at state level. Check out the live graph below!
Real-time Forecasting of Australian Small-Scale Solar
The graph below displays state-level small-scale solar PV power output forecasts for Australia. At Solcast, we define small-scale solar as any site with less than 30MW of installed capacity. This graph uses Solcast's satellite based estimated actuals API product for historical data, and our satellite and weather model based API forecast product out through 7 days.