• Tag Archives solar
  • Solar duck curve

    I really need to get to that blog about the duck curve… But it just ain’t going to happen between now and the 21st.

    Ok Ok, here is the quick version.
    We have so much solar in California, Hawaii and Australia that each day, the sun rises and the power stations have to produce less power as all that power from solar panels gets injected into the grid.
    Then, the people go home from work and turn on their home AC and plasma TV’s… just as the sun is setting, so now the power stations have to ramp up their base load.
    The resulting curve looks like a ducks back (the green line).

    Hence, duck curve.
    (Yes, it changes shape a bit on the weekends, but not that much).

    Stop and think about this….. power has to be used at the same time it is produced. Or flip it around, you have to produce the exact amount of power that is required in real time. The power grid is NOT a battery. There is NO flywheel. It is all done, it HAS to be all done, in real time.

    So, what if there is more solar than you can use? Just ask Hawaii.
    Bad things happen. The solar feeds back into the power station and tries to run it in reverse. This is bad. Very Very VERY bad. (Trust me on this one).

    Another challenge? The amount of ramping up and down the power companies have to do each day. They have to shed generation in the mornings as the sun rises and then ramp up the generators in the evening.
    Very complex and very expensive.

    Another challenge? Wind turbines. We get sunny windy days. Bleh.

    Another challenge? Clouds. None in Southern California, but other parts of the state have some (or so I am told). As the clouds come and go, so does the solar power.

    Can this get any tricker?

    Yup. August 21st 2017.
    There will be a solar eclipse across the USA.


    The grid has never (ever) been tested like this. Ever.

    I am going to be sitting at work looking at my groov web pages.
    I have grid frequency, grid voltage, solar radiation and grid base load graphs… I will be cooking my popcorn before the lights go out…..

  • Tesla wins the bid

    We blogged about this back on March 15th;

    The bidding war is over and Tesla won.

    Earlier this year, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull declared a national energy emergency as parts of the country were under prolonged power outages over the last year due to its unstable grid. South Australia got it worst with a state-wide blackout in September.

    They set out to stabilize their grid by adding a large amount of energy storage and started a bidding process to install over 100 MWh of energy capacity. Tesla CEO Musk made the company’s bid very public and even promised that Tesla could deliver over 100 MWh of energy storage in 100 days or it would be free.

    Today, it was announced that Tesla won the contract.

    Not only that, they increased the capacity of the system. The energy capacity is 29 MWh higher than expected, but the power output is even more impressive. Tesla wrote in a blog post:

    “This week, through a competitive bidding process, Tesla was selected to provide a 100 MW/129 MWh Powerpack system to be paired with global renewable energy provider Neoen’s Hornsdale Wind Farm near Jamestown, South Australia. Tesla was awarded the entire energy storage system component of the project.”

    It’s 3 times the power capacity of the next largest system in the world.

    That pretty much sums it up.
    Not sure I have too much more to add.
    Just a matter of waiting now and see how it all works out when the next storm hits.

  • Google Project Sunroof

    This one is pretty interesting if you are into solar (or are thinking about getting it).

    Google are rolling out a website that shows the amount of sun that YOUR roof will get.


    It is very personal and as such does not cover every city in the world (yet).
    I actually heard about it about a year back, signed up for it and then had to wait so long that I forgot….. Got an email out of the blue a short while ago, Temecula is now covered. Cool.

    The deal is that they will run the numbers and tell you how much solar your location can expect.
    The really cool thing is that they also do some math on the visuals of your roof, so you can see shade and which parts of your roof get the most sun.
    Here is an example of our street.

    google sunroof

    From this image, I can see that were I currently have my solar panels located is THE WORST possible location I could put them. Sweet! (Or not).

    From there, they then offer details of people that service your area with respect to solar.
    (I’m sure this is where they make money, hooking up customers and businesses).

    Not sure how long it will take them to get downunder, but, check it out, its pretty interesting if only from the aspect of big data.