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Sun and AI: How Solar Energy Systems can be improved with Algorithms

solar energy and ai

I understand your doubts.

Which is the best solution to improve solar energy production?

Using artificial intelligence, how the title would suggest…

… or mounting solar panels on a donkey, as in the pic above?

Read the article to discover it!

 

Solar energy today

Nowadays, photovoltaic tech is definitely a hot topic.

Hot in all senses.

It is one of the main types of renewable energy technologies and has been developed to meet the growing demand for electricity while safeguarding the environment.

Following a global trend towards renewable energy sources, this sector has benefited from significant investments aimed at improving its yield and making it competitive.

At the same time, the costs of generating energy from photovoltaic panels have significantly dropped. According to research, we are talking about a 73% decrease between 2010 and 2017.

Even I can afford them, if I stop eating, drinking, smoking, and buying toy soldiers.

“The costs of generating energy from photovoltaic panels have significantly dropped. According to research, we are talking about a 73% decrease between 2010 and 2017.”

Each solution leads to other problems

Photovoltaic panels convert solar radiation into electricity thanks to semiconductor materials.

As you can imagine, their performance strongly depends on solar radiation, weather conditions, temperature, and the geographical location of the installation.

Excluding the position of the panel, which normally does not change (if we do not consider devices mounted on cute donkeys), all the other parameters listed above are clearly very variable over time.

This means that the energy output of photovoltaic panels is pretty unstable.

 

A real headache for energy sector players

One of the most challenging tasks for energy market operators is to manage this variability of production.

This is necessary in order to avoid the waste of electricity produced by renewable energy plants and to ensure sufficient energy to cover the customers’ needs.

Especially in the short term (a few hours), transmission system operators need to find the right balance for the entire grid, to avoid possible penalties applied in case of excessive or lower electricity generation.

Electricity traders, on the other hand, are more focused on long-term fluctuations in energy production (one-day intervals).

Accurate forecasting of the next day’s production is essential for successful financial market operations as most of the electricity is traded on the day-ahead market.

solar

How can AI support solar energy production?

In recent years, skyrocketing data availability and computing power have enabled machine learning algorithms to offer better predictions about the fluctuations mentioned above.

Machine learning is a fascinating branch of AI. It specializes in creating computer algorithms that can automatically improve their performance through experience.

ML algorithms are able to recognize specific patterns in data sets, build mathematical models to represent them, and use these models to make predictions or decisions without being explicitly programmed.

A further step forw