Success story - Solar energy

BSC Dust Daily Forecast

Together with the prediction of solar irradiance, short term mineral dust forecasts produced by the BSC are useful for energy operators to anticipate the negative effects of dust, i.e. the deterioration and costs of solar infrastructure resulting from dust deposition on solar panels, which also reduces energy production.

One particular mineral dust intrusion event, that was predicted by the BSC Dust Daily Forecast system, affected Northern Europe at the beginning of April 2014. At that moment, the estimated power prediction for German solar installations almost doubled the power production actually measured. This strong overestimation significantly affected the hourly price in the wholesale electricity market, in which prices initially assessed to be around 27 €/MWh, rapidly reached a level close to 150 €/MWh after recognising the lack of solar output. Other significant estimations of incoming radiation could be due to clouds, whose formation is also entrained due to the presence of mineral dust.

The NMMB/BSC-Dust model is the dust module of the new multi-scale chemical weather prediction system under development at BSC (NMMB/MONARCH). The model contains advanced physics, chemistry and aerosol packages, and has the unique ability to be configured as a global model or as a very high-resolution regional model. It runs operationally (7 days a week, 365 days a year) at the Barcelona Dust Forecast Center. At regional scales, the BSC Dust Daily Forecast also contributes to the SDS-WAS dust forecast model intercomparison. At the global scale, the model contributes to the International Cooperative for Aerosol Prediction (ICAP) Multi Model Ensemble.


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