American-Made Challenges

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Solar Forecasting Prize

Enabling solar industry stakeholders with state-of-the-art solar forecasting capabilities
stage:
Enter
prize:
$375,000
Overview

Challenge Overview

The American-Made Solar Forecasting Prize is designed to better enable solar industry stakeholders with state-of-the-art solar forecasting capabilities. Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office, this prize aims to increase the use of the Solar Forecast Arbiter, an open platform developed by the University of Arizona, to allow for the transparent, rigorous, and consistent analysis and evaluation of solar forecasts.

Increasing Awareness of State-of-the-Art Solar Forecasting

Probabilistic forecasts are being recognized as a critical tool for cost-effective reserve allocation and unit scheduling. Considering a future with high-penetration weather-bound renewable energy generation is becoming increasingly important. But today, deployment and integration of these forecasts into energy management systems has not been widely adopted. 

Additionally, independent system operators agree that solar forecasting is an important part of system operations, and forecasting becomes even more important as the fraction of variable weather-dependent generation increases.

 

The Solar Forecasting Prize aims to address this by:

  • Increasing stakeholder awareness of the state of the art in solar forecasting.
  • Incentivizing the participation of a broad range of competitors from the solar forecasting industry and research and development space.
  • Growing industry knowledge of the Solar Forecast Arbiter (SFA) platform and its potential.
  • Promoting the adoption of uniform and transparent metrics and specifications for solar forecasts using SFA (or similar platforms) by forecast end-users.
  • Identifying algorithms that perform better than a baseline probabilistic forecast.

Earn Cash Prizes for Successful Solar Forecasting

Up to five teams will win $50,000 each in cash prizes for showcasing the best performing algorithm and the strongest commercialization plan. 

Five runner-up teams will also have the chance to earn $25,000 in cash prizes.

What Is the Solar Forecast Arbiter? 

The Solar Forecast Arbiter (SFA) is an open forecasting platform developed by the University of Arizona. It allows for the transparent, rigorous, and consistent analysis and evaluation of solar forecasts by end-users. 

 

Solar Forecasting Site List

More information regarding the anticipated site list can be found under the Resources tab: https://www.herox.com/SolarForecasting/resource/836 

 

Site

Network

Kona, Hawaii

NREL MIDC

Seattle, Washington

NOAA SOLRAD

Hanford, California

NOAA SOLRAD

Salt Lake City, Utah

NOAA SOLRAD

Table Mountain Boulder, Colorado

NOAA SURFRAD

Goodwin Creek, Mississippi

NOAA SURFRAD

Bondville, Illinois

NOAA SURFRAD

Titusville, Florida

NOAA USCRN

Sterling, Virginia

NOAA SOLRAD

Millbrook, New York

NOAA USCRN

 

Guidelines

Challenge Guidelines

Please review the official rules for the complete application process and instructions for competing.

If you want to subscribe to updates on the prize or have any questions, you may use the contact feature on the HeroX platform, or message us directly.

 

Timeline
Updates 6

Challenge Updates

What is the Solar Forecast Arbiter?

Nov. 19, 2021, 12:30 p.m. PST by Jackie Petre

The Solar Forecasting Prize aims to increase the use of the Solar Forecast Arbiter, an open platform developed by the University of Arizona But what is the Solar Forecast Arbiter? 

The Solar Forecast Arbiter (SFA) is an open forecasting platform developed that allows for the transparent, rigorous, and consistent analysis and evaluation of solar forecasts by end-users. It provides a standardized, open source, extensible platform with a diverse suite of metrics that can be tailored to different needs. 

Funded as part of the DOE Solar Forecasting 2 program (but built with extensibility to wind forecasting also in mind), the SFA is an open source tool that enables evaluations of solar irradiance, solar power, and net load forecasts that are impartial, repeatable, and auditable. The SFA is geared toward evaluating the quality and value of deterministic, probabilistic, and event forecast products of solar power and irradiance, and includes automatable analysis of multiple operational forecasts and management of multi-vendor operational forecast trials. The tool assesses a renewable energy forecast and provides an objective score using a broad suite of metrics, and provides end-to-end functionality for all aspects of end-user forecast validation.

Looking to learn more? Check out these resources from the SFA: 

The prize administrators will host a technical webinar on the Solar Forecast Arbiter in January for competing teams. Make sure you register your team in HeroX by Dec. 15!


Solar Forecasting Webinar 11/8 Q&A Responses Now Available

Nov. 16, 2021, 9:21 a.m. PST by NREL Challenge

Have a question about the Solar Forecasting Prize? Check out the Q&A from the Solar Forecasting Prize Informational Webinar. Questions and answers range from application eligibility to key deadlines, and information on the day-ahead solar forecast. 

If you have more questions, take a look at the official rules document, use the HeroX forum to post a public question, or email .

Lastly, don’t forget to register for the prize by Dec. 15! 

 


Now Playing: Informational Webinar Recording

Nov. 9, 2021, 11:24 a.m. PST by Jackie Petre

If you missed the Solar Forecasting Prize Informational Webinar, you can now stream the recording or view the presentation slides. Questions and answers from the webinar will be posted in the coming days to HeroX as well as emailed to all webinar participants. 

During this presentation, the Solar Forecasting Prize administrators provided background on the prize and reviewed competition goals, eligibility requirements, and winner selection process. They also presented an overview of the Solar Forecast Arbiter and received questions from attendees. 

Check out the recording below to hear what was discussed and what you need to submit by Dec. 15. If you have additional questions, please use the HeroX forum to post a public question or email


Join the Solar Forecasting Prize Informational Webinar Today at 12 p.m. ET!

Nov. 8, 2021, 8 a.m. PST by Jackie Petre

Today—join the Solar Forecasting Prize Informational Webinar at 12 p.m. ET to learn more about the competition!

The prize administrators from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) are excited to host this webinar to share more details about this brand-new prize. Experts from DOE and NREL will discuss timeline, goals, deliverables, and more, in addition to answering your questions about the prize. If you can’t join the live webinar, we’ll post a recording on HeroX in the days following the webinar. However, we highly encourage you join live and ask questions. 

Register here and tune in at 12 p.m. ET for the Solar Forecasting Prize Informational Webinar. We hope to see you there! 


The Need for Solar Forecasting

Nov. 5, 2021, 1:23 p.m. PDT by Jackie Petre

Why do we need accurate solar forecasting capabilities and how will the Solar Forecasting Prize address this need? Find out in a story from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and during the upcoming informational webinar. 

Reliable Forecasting Capabilities

Probabilistic forecasts are being recognized as a critical tool for cost-effective reserve allocation and unit scheduling. Considering a future with high-penetration weather-bound renewable energy generation is becoming increasingly important. Additionally, independent system operators agree that solar forecasting is an important part of system operations, and forecasting becomes even more important as the fraction of variable weather-dependent generation increases.

“Grid operators need tools to accurately calculate how much power solar plants will generate a day ahead of time, and the Solar Forecasting Prize was created to deliver those tools,” said Garrett Nilsen, acting director of the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office

Read the full story here

Want to know more about how the Solar Forecasting Prize aims to accomplish this? Join the informational webinar on Monday, Nov. 8, at 12 p.m. ET to hear the prize administrators discuss the competition and answer all your questions. Register for the Solar Forecasting Prize Informational Webinar here


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