As OUC drastically increases its solar portfolio, the Emerging Technologies team has been working to find the best way to gather real-time weather data to help determine the output we can expect from the panels. And, they’ve found a solution. The team is working with the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory to install a weather monitoring system, complete with individual weather stations at substations and chilled water plants that will collect weather data and predict their impacts on local photovoltaic generation and customer load.

“We’ll know which solar arrays are about to be covered by clouds to help inform dispatch decisions to offset changes in energy production,” said Justin Kramer, Supervisor of Emerging Technologies. As we move to a renewable energy future, much of which will include solar, we’ll have to account for the solar fluctuations that occur throughout the day.

“Cloud cover can affect solar output in a matter of minutes,” said Kramer. “So, these new stations will help us maintain the most reliable service as we move into a more sustainable future.”

Currently, 25 stations are planned for our service territory.