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We chat to Dan Travers from Climate Open Fix about Solar Forecasting

Green Tech South West Thurs 26th Jan 2023, Forecasting and solar generation and reimaging what resources management talks

We’re excited to welcome Dan Travers (Co-Founder) of Open Climate Fix to GTSW’s next hybrid event.

Dan is a mathematician by training. His first job was in energy 20 years ago in Australia, which opened his eyes to this fascinating world of an essential, non-storable commodity. With renewables and batteries, things have changed a lot. In 2019 he co-founded Open Climate Fix.

His upcoming talk for us is entitled – Forecasting solar generation – why, how and what next?

Electrical grids must be balanced in terms of supply and demand at every moment in time. Solar PV however is a variable generation source, dependent on cloud cover.

Open Climate Fix is developing a completely open source solution for forecasting of clouds using satellite imagery, weather forecasts and PV data.

Dan will explain us to how this works, the applications, what carbon it is saving and the next steps. He’ll also tell us about his journey founding Open Climate Fix.

Can you tell us a little about Climate Fix?

Open Climate Fix is a non-profit product lab focussed on addressing climate change. What does that mean? We are about using cutting edge research, but applying it to the real-world, ensuring it actually gets used. That means we don’t just think of good ideas, but put them into practice with users.

The first problem we are tackling is forecasting solar electricity generation. This is useful as to run the electricity grid efficiently, you need to know how much renewable energy is going to be produced in the next 5 minutes or in the next day!

Importantly we are doing everything open source, so we can move faster, and the ideas can travel faster!

What led you to becoming a co-founder?

Well – I met my co-founder through a friend, who said this guy Jack is someone I had to meet as we had very similar interests. He was right! We both have experience in the electricity grid and tech, and we felt there was a real gap between the two: researchers often don’t know the problems to address and the people in industry don’t have time to look up the latest techniques which are available – especially in machine learning, which is a very fast-moving field.

Where did you get the idea for forecasting solar PV and what are your hopes for the product?

I was in energy 20 years ago, before renewables. I wanted to move back to energy, but into renewables. My wife’s uncle worked as a professor at Imperial College, working on solar cell technology. He introduced me to Sheffield Solar, who do the data analytics for the UK’s solar generation. I took it from there, and I suddenly I was doing a PhD in the field!

I hope the product will be the best solar forecast in the world!

What’s next for Open Climate Fix and how can people support you?

We are looking to make our PV forecast better in the UK, take the forecast to economies with a really brown electricity grid, and then consider if we can model EV charging load on the grid.

We’d love help around the open source side of the project. We are hoping to build momentum in that, so thoughts and help on that side is always appreciated.

Thanks for the chat Dan!

Catch Dan’s talk in-person at the Engine Shed or online (live or later), Thurs Jan 26th at 6.30pm – RSVP here:

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