California Prepares For An Eclipse Of Its Solar Power

Spectators around the country are gearing up, eclipse glasses at the ready, for the solar eclipse on Aug. 21. But another group — perhaps more anxious than eager — is preparing as well: the people who run California’s electric grid.

California is home to almost half of all the solar power in the country. So, even a partial loss of the sun will mean a major dip in the energy supply.

“We’re doing a lot of coordination, a lot of preparation,” says Deane Lyon, a manager at the California Independent System Operator (ISO), which manages about 80 percent of the state’s electric grid. “It’s probably the most work this company has done to prepare for a three-hour event in our history.”

Solar power already comes with up and downs, in the form of clouds.

“So this was a particularly cloudy day,” says Jan Klube of Enphase, pulling up a graph showing the solar output from one California home. The Petaluma-based company monitors rooftop solar systems around the country day in and day out.

To show how a single cloud can make a difference, he points to the afternoon hours, when the output dips by about a third. “You see the big drop, so there’s a cloud coming and going,” he explains. “That’s why you see the zigzag.”

If your solar panels are in the path of totality during the eclipse, “it will go all the way to zero,” he says.

California isn’t squarely in the path, but the moon’s partial shadow will obscure 90 percent of the sun in the north, down to nearly 60 percent in the south. That’s more than enough to cause some anxiety for the people who have to keep California’s lights on.

Read more at NPR

Comments (5)

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    Spurwing Plover

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    Both our local schools open on Monday and both our schools plus one home has solar pannels i wonder whats going to happen when the solar Eclipes happens on Monday the day Garfield dont like

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    Gerry

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    “That’s more than enough to cause some anxiety for the people who have to keep California’s lights on.”
    Why? It’s subsidized, unreliable and available only when available and amounts to less than 1% of total power production. Can we get a hug for these Idiots?!?!?
    And I love this……………
    http://www.wral.com/duke-energy-makes-plans-for-when-sun-goes-dark/16874424/
    “That much darkness presents a first-of-its-kind puzzle for the Duke Energy employees managing solar energy.” Talk about needing to come into the LIGHT.

    God save us

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    azeeman

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    Good thing the sun never sets on California. If a two minute eclipse can cause such havoc, imagine what 12 hours of darkness would do.

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    Sonnyhill

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    This reminds me of the Y2K paranoia. I think we’re being set up. When nothing happens, they’ll declare victory for green energy.

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    Spurwing Plover

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    Sonny Hill. I can remember all about that Y2K poppycock and when there was Bird Flu those idiots from PETA was urging everyone to go vegan and the lies about DDT Sacarine,Oat Bran,Killer Bees,Silicone Breast Implants just to name a few and can anyone remember Raidon Gas?

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