Google funds solar energy forecasting project

A non-profit green tech has been awarded more than £500,000 in funding from to revolutionise cloud forecasting for solar energy generation.

Open Climate Fix, co-founded by Dr Jack Kelly, a former engineer at Google DeepMind, aims to deliver an online solar electricity forecasting service covering the UK and Europe and collaborate with other forecasting companies. Code and research results will be completely open so they can have maximum climate impact and be continually improved.

As solar power generation fluctuates as clouds change shape and block sunlight, forecasting can predict sunlight a few hours ahead to help maintain supply. Open Climate Fix uses images taken every five minutes from a geostationary satellite and a machine learning algorithm with the recent history of the images to determine how clouds are moving and changing over time.

The funding was awarded as part of’s Impact Challenge On Climate, committing €10m to fund bold ideas that aim to use technology to accelerate Europe’s progress toward a greener, more resilient future.

Dr Kelly said: “Most electricity grids simply will not be able to reduce CO2 emissions to net-zero without significantly better electricity forecasts. Net-zero grids will be more complex than today's grids and will require better coordination, which in turn need better renewable generation forecasts. That’s what we aim to deliver.”

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