Quantcast

How the Solar Industry Is Getting Ready for the Great American Eclipse

Popular
SolarSeven

This August, Americans will have a rare opportunity to see a total solar eclipse from their homeland, but it will also be a misfortune for solar arrays nationwide.


The Great American Solar Eclipse, as scientists and enthusiasts are referring to it, will be Aug. 21 and people from across the globe are expected to be lining up along the path of totality (the sliver of land where the moon can be seen completely blocking the sun), which cuts straight through the states. The 70-mile-wide stretch that spans from Oregon to South Carolina will have the greatest views of the celestial event, but it will also lose out on precious solar energy for a few minutes across the board. And, those outside the path will experience a widespread partial solar eclipse that will cover the nation almost entirely.

The path of totality is 70 miles wide and spans across multiple states. NASA

A recent report from the California Independent System Operator (ISO), is predicting that this event will cause a sharp drop in solar production. In California alone, which serves the U.S. with 10,000 megawatts of solar power a year—half the nation's solar energy—there will be a 70-megawatt drop per minute while the shadow of the moon blankets Earth. But, immediately following the eclipse, there will be a 90 megawatt uptake per minute. The ISO report states that there will be a net loss of about 6,000 Megawatts, that's enough to power a small city.

To prepare for this loss, the U.S. is looking to Europe for guidance, which gets 90 percent of new electricity from renewable sources, as of a 2016 report. They have determined that they will have to allocate resources from hydroelectric and natural gas to make up for the loss, but the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) doesn't believe the U.S. should be all that concerned.

"We don't call it a reliability issue, but it's an impact to the system operations and something operators need to do some planning to prepare for," John Moura, NERC director, told the Financial Times.

This is the first time grid operators have even had to consider the effects of a solar eclipse on such a large scale. But, as the U.S. increases renewable energy sources, this kind of event will have to be taken into greater consideration. Although solar eclipses are usually in a remote area and very rarely cross through the entire continental U.S, there are expected to be six more by the end of the 21st century.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

With well over a billion cars worldwide, electric vehicles are still only a small percentage. An economist from the University of Michigan Energy Institute says that is likely to change. Maskot / Getty Images

In 2018, there were about 5 million electric cars on the road globally. It sounds like a large number, but with well over a billion cars worldwide, electric vehicles are still only a small percentage.

Read More
Nestlé is accelerating its efforts to bring functional, safe and environmentally friendly packaging solutions to the market and to address the global challenge of plastic packaging waste. Nestlé / Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Nestlé, the world's largest food company, said it will invest up to $2 billion to address the plastic waste crisis that it is largely responsible for.

Read More
Sponsored
Determining the effects of media on people's lives requires knowledge of what people are actually seeing and doing on those screens. Vertigo3d / iStock / Getty Images Plus

By Byron Reeves, Nilam Ram and Thomas N. Robinson

There's a lot of talk about digital media. Increasing screen time has created worries about media's impacts on democracy, addiction, depression, relationships, learning, health, privacy and much more. The effects are frequently assumed to be huge, even apocalyptic.

Read More
Indigenous people of various ethnic groups protest calling for demarcation of lands during the closing of the 'Red January - Indigenous Blood', in Paulista Avenue, in São Paulo, Brazil, Jan. 31, 2019. Cris Faga / NurPhoto / Getty Images

By Raphael Tsavkko Garcia

Rarely has something so precious fallen into such unsafe hands. Since Jair Bolsonaro took the Brazilian presidency in 2019, the Amazon, which makes up 10 percent of our planet's biodiversity and absorbs an estimated 5 percent of global carbon emissions, has been hit with a record number of fires and unprecedented deforestation.

Read More
Microsoft's main campus in Redmond, Washington on May 12, 2017. GLENN CHAPMAN / AFP via Getty Images

Microsoft announced ambitious new plans to become carbon negative by 2030 and then go one step further and remove by 2050 all the carbon it has emitted since the company was founded in 1975, according to a company press release.

Read More