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A new cloud-tracking solar photovoltaic (PV) technology has entered the Australian market, after its pilot project received $569,200 in ARENA funding.

Fulcrum3D has sold its first CloudCAM cloud tracking systems to utility-scale solar customers. The new system enables cheaper renewable energy by forecasting the power output of solar photovoltaic (PV) plants.

ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht said the sales were the latest example of ARENA funding leading to real, commercial outcomes.

“Cloud tracking allows solar power output to be accurately forecasted before cloud shadows move across solar panels,” Mr Frischknecht said.

“This reduces the need for battery storage and informs market bidding, ultimately increasing solar energy yield, resulting in cheaper power.

“Fulcrum3D’s CloudCAM solution uses ground mounted cameras to track cloud movements. The advanced technology can even track clouds that are layered at different altitudes and moving at different speeds.

“There is potential for this technology to be combined with the next wave of solar PV plants built in Australia, including those seeking funding through ARENA’s $100million large-scale solar competitive funding round.”

Fulcrum3D Technical Director Colin Bonner said Fulcrum3D was excited to be working with several developers and operators of remote, hybrid PV power stations across Australia to integrate CloudCAM.

“Three new commercial solar sites across Australia have purchased CloudCAMs in the last month, including two Epuron sites,” Mr Bonner said.

“The two Epuron sites at Ti-Tree and Kalkarindji in the Northern Territory are the first high penetration PV power stations in Australia to use cloud forecasting to smooth solar power output.

“CloudCAM has been successfully integrated into the control systems at the two power stations, enabling autonomous operation.

“In addition to increasing revenue, the integration of CloudCAM at the Ti Tree site has seen a significantly lower demand for energy from its storage system, reducing cycling of the batteries and increasing battery life.

“We have also begun trials on advanced sensors, with ARENA’s support, which aim to increase CloudCAM’s predictive capability in utility-scale solar power stations with large geographical footprints.”

Jessica Dickers is an experienced journalist, editor and content creator who is currently the Editor of Utility’s sister publication, Infrastructure. With a strong writing background, Jessica has experience in journalism, editing, print production, content marketing, event program creation, PR and editorial management. Her favourite part of her role as editor is collaborating with the sector to put together the best industry-leading content for the audience.

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