Using forecasts of the spatially resolved solar irradiance we can optimize the output of solar power plants and their integration in the grid. DLR provides accordingly the necessary forecasts. These are generated using a system of cloud cameras. Photos of the sky which are taken from several positions on a solar field are used to determine the coordinates of the clouds and their vectors of movement. Alternatively, the height of the clouds can also be determined using other sources, e.g. with a ceilometer which is operated at the Plataforma Solar de Almería (owned by the Spanish research center CIEMAT). The results give an irradiation map for the solar field and the development of the clouds in time steps of less than a minute for the next 15 minutes.
Satellite data and weather models can give additional information about the height, the cloud movement on larger scales, and the extinction caused by clouds. Thus, they can provide forecasts for larger time scales. These forecasts are complimentary to the short-term forecasts of our department and are provided by the Institute of Networked Energy Systems of the DLR.