cloud prediction funding awarded to Fulcrum3D

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has awarded $452,000 in funding for Fulcrum3D to further develop its advanced cloud tracking system.

In awarding the funding ARENA acknowledged that effectively tracking and predicting cloud movements was a key factor in getting the most out of solar PV installations.

The project will trial ground-based sensors including CloudCAM and enhancements to this existing platform which allow Fulcrum3D to better identify and track clouds that are layered at different altitudes and moving at different speeds or directions. This is a step forward from current forecasting technologies that do not cope well with multi-layered cloud bands.  The ultimate aim is to offer reliable prediction of changes in solar energy output to network planners, utilities and power station operators. This will allow more solar power to be dispatched and allow higher penetration of solar power in weak grids and off-grid locations.

The CloudCAM technology will be developed and demonstrated at Epuron’s 1 MW Uterne solar PV plant in Alice Springs which is currently being expanded with 3.1 MW of additional solar PV modules.

ARENA extends its funding for cloud prediction

September 2015 – The Australian Renewable Energy Agency extended its funding of the CloudCAM project from $452,000 to $569,200 with the project set to run until March 2016. This grant part funds the development of Fulcrum3D’s CloudCAM system which will offer the ability to track multi-level clouds enhancing solar irradiance forecasting for the solar industry. Fulcrum3D will provide updates as milestones are achieved.

project updates

28th November 2014
  • CloudCAM was trialled in Sydney and deployed to the Uterne Solar Power Station (Alice Springs, NT).
  • Software was developed to provide robust detection and tracking of clouds as they move through the camera’s full hemispherical field of view.


CloudCAM CC1 Image

  Typical CloudCAM image (Uterne Solar Power Station, courtesy Epuron)

 28th February 2015
  • Advanced version of CloudCAM undergoes field trials in Sydney before being deployed to the Northern Territory. The system demonstrates improved multi-layer cloud detection and tracking with greater resolution of horizon-level clouds.
  • Excellent cloud detection and shadow prediction capabilities result, with cloud detection measured as being greater than 95%.
  • Short term predictions (<5 min) are robust; longer-term prediction refinement is ongoing.
8th September 2015
  • Development of a solar flare filter leads to greater accuracy achieved for cloud detection and shadow placement prediction.
  • Integration of cloud detection, position, tracking, shadow location and effect on PV station.
8th December 2015
  • CloudCAM All-sky systems installed at Epuron’s Northern Territory Ti Tree and Kalkarindji Solar Power Stations. This will enable ongoing trials of real-time integration of CloudCAM in a commercially operating solar power station.
  • CloudCAM Advanced system undergoes further trials and shows superior cloud detection performance.
  • Introduction of new filtering algorithm essentially eliminates the effects of dust and water marks on the lens of CloudCAM All-Sky.

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