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Sensors 2017, 17(5), 1116; doi:10.3390/s17051116

Intra-Minute Cloud Passing Forecasting Based on a Low Cost IoT Sensor—A Solution for Smoothing the Output Power of PV Power Plants

Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, University of Maribor, Smetanova 17, SI-2000 Maribor, Slovenia
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Academic Editor: Vittorio M.N. Passaro
Received: 20 February 2017 / Revised: 24 April 2017 / Accepted: 9 May 2017 / Published: 13 May 2017
(This article belongs to the Section Physical Sensors)

Abstract

Clouds moving at a high speed in front of the Sun can cause step changes in the output power of photovoltaic (PV) power plants, which can lead to voltage fluctuations and stability problems in the connected electricity networks. These effects can be reduced effectively by proper short-term cloud passing forecasting and suitable PV power plant output power control. This paper proposes a low-cost Internet of Things (IoT)-based solution for intra-minute cloud passing forecasting. The hardware consists of a Raspberry PI Model B 3 with a WiFi connection and an OmniVision OV5647 sensor with a mounted wide-angle lens, a circular polarizing (CPL) filter and a natural density (ND) filter. The completely new algorithm for cloud passing forecasting uses the green and blue colors in the photo to determine the position of the Sun, to recognize the clouds, and to predict their movement. The image processing is performed in several stages, considering selectively only a small part of the photo relevant to the movement of the clouds in the vicinity of the Sun in the next minute. The proposed algorithm is compact, fast and suitable for implementation on low cost processors with low computation power. The speed of the cloud parts closest to the Sun is used to predict when the clouds will cover the Sun. WiFi communication is used to transmit this data to the PV power plant control system in order to decrease the output power slowly and smoothly. View Full-Text
Keywords: photovoltaic power plant; cloud passing forecasting; algorithm; sensor; Raspberry Pi; camera; wide-angle lens; optical filters; Internet of Things photovoltaic power plant; cloud passing forecasting; algorithm; sensor; Raspberry Pi; camera; wide-angle lens; optical filters; Internet of Things
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Sukič, P.; Štumberger, G. Intra-Minute Cloud Passing Forecasting Based on a Low Cost IoT Sensor—A Solution for Smoothing the Output Power of PV Power Plants. Sensors 2017, 17, 1116.

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