A further $8 million has been committed to projects which will give solar plant developers more accurate predictions of solar output from specific site locations.
The bulk of the new funding is being invested in two projects related to ‘plug-and-play‘ photovoltaic systems which householders can select to best fit their requirements and have installed and operating within a day.
In Cambridge, Massachusetts, Fraunhofer USA’s Center for Sustainable Energy Systems will develop the technologies to make plug-and-play systems more viable and North Carolina State University will work on developing standard components which can be adapted for any roof.
Both projects will be funded to the tune of a total $21 million over the next five years and are part of the Department of Energy’s war on non-hardware ‘soft costs’ which make up the majority of the expense of domestic solar systems.
The University Corporation for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado and the IBM Thomas J Watson Research Center in Armonk, New York, have secured $8 million dollars for their solar prediction research.
The Colorado institution is researching methods to understand cloud impact and developing short term prediction techniques associated with it. The New York recipient of SunShot funding will use its Watson computer system, which uses big data processing and self-adjusting algorithms, to combine different solar prediction methods and technologies into a comprehensive model.