Using solar and load predictions in battery scheduling at the residential level

Richard Bean, Hina Khan

Smart solar inverters can be used to store, monitor and manage a home's solar energy. We describe a smart solar inverter system with battery which can either operate in an automatic mode or receive commands over a network to charge and discharge at a given rate. In order to make battery storage financially viable and advantageous to the consumers, effective battery scheduling algorithms can be employed. Particularly, when time-of-use tariffs are in effect in the region of the inverter, it is possible in some cases to schedule the battery to save money for the individual customer, compared to the "automatic" mode. Hence, this paper presents and evaluates the performance of a novel battery scheduling algorithm for residential consumers of solar energy. The proposed battery scheduling algorithm optimizes the cost of electricity over next 24 hours for residential consumers. The cost minimization is realized by controlling the charging/discharging of battery storage system based on the predictions for load and solar power generation values. The scheduling problem is formulated as a linear programming problem. We performed computer simulations over 83 inverters using several months of hourly load and PV data. The simulation results indicate that key factors affecting the viability of optimization are the tariffs and the PV to Load ratio at each inverter. Depending on the tariff, savings of between 1% and 10% can be expected over the automatic approach. The prediction approach used in this paper is also shown to out-perform basic "persistence" forecasting approaches. We have also examined the approaches for improving the prediction accuracy and optimization effectiveness.

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