OUC testing technology to track cloud cover at solar farms

OUC testing technology to track cloud cover at solar farms

The Orlando Utilities Commission is testing out a new technology it’s calling “Skycam.”

“It allows us to build better solar farms and to build better economic predictions around the solar farms and to make sure the energy we’re making for the grid is of a high quality,” OUC Project Engineer Rubin York said.

Skycam helps track clouds at two of OUC’s solar farms, which can power 20,000 homes.

The cameras will be used on the farms to track and predict cloud cover to prevent OUC customers from losing power.

“You start to see flickering and browning,” York said. “For larger customers like the airport, Universal, it actually means damaged equipment. For people at home, it means your Wi-Fi going out, intermittent power. It means resetting devices.”

OUC has three Skycams so far. It took about six to eight months to develop them.

OUC engineers said Skycam is cheaper to use than weather radar to predict the clouds. It will also help them be more proactive to prevent customers from losing power.

“We can get out ahead of the cloud formations,” York said. “We can start to dispatch batteries. We can dispatch loads. We can start to turn up the turbines.” 

OUC got the idea for the cameras from engineering students at UCF. They will be a part of developing the Skycams.

OUC plans to update the product and build four more.

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