The solar eclipse that will cross the United States on Monday, August 22 is historic for several reasons.
It is the first total eclipse in several decades. The last time the earth lost touch with the sun for such an extended period was in 1979.
In the decades since then, solar energy started as a fringe idea embraced by a few people then exploded into a rapidly growing energy sector. As a result, the loss of a few minutes of sunshine will, for the first time, make an impact on the amount of electricity entering the grid.
A second factor that makes this eclipse important is its timing. The eclipse will decrease the amount of solar power generated during a peak time of day at the peak season for electric consumption. At midafternoon in August, air conditioners are consuming plenty of power to keep things cool in homes, offices and factories alike. In the areas most affected by the eclipse there will be greater use of electricity for lighting, too.
How will this affect solar homes in Texas? Though the growth of solar generation in Texas increased exponentially in recent years, the amount of solar energy produced is not sufficient for this eclipse to cause an issue.
The path of the eclipse determines how it might disrupt solar energy output. Since early 2017, scientist at NASA have studied the path of the eclipse to create models of its effect on the US, including solar power production. The loss of sunlight will have greater effect to states to our north, from Oregon to South Carolina.
Power grid operators are intensely interested in the effects of the eclipse on solar power production, too. The production of solar and other types of renewable resources has soared in recent years, but the grid that carries the power to our homes, schools and businesses hasn’t been upgraded. In fact, in many cases what we refer to as “the grid” is simply a system that was patched together as needs arose. There isn’t really a well planned and executed delivery system for one of our most vital utilities. In anticipation of the event, grid operators have been preparing for months to make sure that most of their customers are unaffected.
This real-life situation that threatens to put a strain on the grid is an excellent opportunity to gather data and determine the best way to accommodate the growing impact of renewable energy.
Solar energy is mainstream, now. Consumers and businesses have discovered how easy it is to go solar and how quickly they realize a return on investment. Be part of the solar revolution by scheduling your free consultation today!