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Improving Accuracy of Solar Forecasting (FOA)

Open Date: 04/16/2012

Close Date: 06/28/2012

Funding Organization: Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Funding Number: DE-FOA-0000649


This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is being issued by DOE to solicit applications for improving accuracy of solar forecasting in the short-term (0-6 hours) and day-ahead timeframes. This FOA is part of the DOE "SunShot Initiative" and addresses the EERE performance metric of increasing the viability and deployment of renewable energy technologies.

Launched in 2011, the SunShot Initiative aims to reduce the cost of solar energy systems by about 75% between 2010 and 2020. Achieving this target could result in solar meeting roughly 14% of U.S. electricity needs by 2030 and 27% by 2050. Advancements in generation (conventional as well as solar) and transmission technology, improved accuracy in solar resource forecasting, the evolution of operational practices, and the adoption of consistent codes, standards, and regulatory procedures will collectively enable the successful integration of high levels of solar penetration on the grid. Specifically, there is a significant need for strong leadership and a clear way forward in:

  • establishing a standard set of metrics for solar forecast accuracy assessment,
  • development of new methods/algorithms/processes for solar forecasting, and
  • a rigorous estimation of the various value streams (including economic and reliability aspects) due to improved accuracy solar forecasting.

To further address these issues and encourage stakeholders to participate in improving the accuracy of solar forecasting, and to establish American leadership in cutting-edge solar resource forecasting techniques, the DOE, through this announcement, is planning to fund specific activities in foundational and applied research to improve the accuracy of solar forecasting, and demonstrating the application of more accuracy solar forecasts in power system operations. These activities are expected to enable significant, sustainable, and measurable progress in achieving accurate solar forecasting that is developed through foundational research, meet accuracy targets on a set of metrics developed by stakeholder consensus, validate the improved forecasts through data from existing and new instrumentation, and result in benefits shown through incorporating the forecasts into real-time power system operations and assessing the resulting impacts. With the integration of high penetrations of variable renewable energy sources quickly becoming a reality for many utilities, and increases in roof-top and distribution solar energy systems the SunShot Initiative is examining how to improve the accuracy of solar forecasting models.

Accurate solar forecasts are essential for the power system operator to ensure grid reliability, and also important for solar power plant owners to minimize deviations from bids made in the power market and reduce operating costs. In addition, the SunShot Initiative is looking to establish by consensus, uniform and comprehensive metrics to measure the accuracy of solar forecasting. Respondents are asked to comment on the questions in the RFI. Respondents are also encouraged to comment on the importance of accurate forecasting and universal metrics, as well as your organization's anticipated interest in participating in a possible FOA opportunity.

For more information, see the full solicitation.

Last updated: 05/16/2012

Funding amounts and schedules are subject to change.