New York Times
The Eclipse Affected More Than Just The Sun
By Sustainable Energy Fund
Did you see it?
If you’re like most of us, Last Monday, August 21st you were standing outside wearing those special glasses and aweing at the magnificence of the total solar eclipse. Even though we only got 70% visibility here in PA, it was still an amazing sight.
What you probably didn't consider...
One thing you probably weren’t even considering was how was technology that relies on the sun affected? Solar panels in particular, designed to account for rain or cloudy weather, obviously need the moon out of the way in order to function properly. While we don’t rely exclusively on solar panel farms in most places, California is much more dependent on them than Pennsylvania. So how were solar farms affected on August 21st during the total solar eclipse?
As per the New York Times, the eclipse was expected to knock out over 5,600 megawatts’ worth of solar panels. That’s a little over 25% of the power generated by Californian solar farms. To put that into perspective, 10% of California’s energy is produced by solar panels.
What was done during the eclipse
The plan was to fill the deficit of power coming from solar panels with other mediums like hydroelectric and natural gas. This isn’t as simple as it sounds. Electricity doesn’t work like gas does, you can’t fill it into large barrels and save it for when you need it. Instead, the deficit had to be carefully monitored and operators had to react quickly to scale back other energy sources and conduct this orchestra of energy sources.
Preparing For The Future
While it may seem silly to account for such a rare phenomenon as total solar eclipses, this was a great drill for electric grid operators. With solar power becoming an increasingly dominant source of energy, these are important considerations.
As we rely more on this sort of technology we, in turn, invest more into it. This is a consideration that could affect future designs of solar panel technology so build a smarter panel that could inform operators more accurately.
The truth is, the solar eclipse probably didn’t have a huge effect on your daily life. Other than stopping for a short period of time, and marveling at this solar event, life went on. Many also think about renewable energy in the same way. For most people, they don’t care about how they get their electricity, as long as the lights turn on.
It isn’t until lights (or the sun) go out that we pause to take into consideration what it would be like without the luxury of power. Futurists have been working to prevent the very possible outcome of this current way of thinking, by investing huge amounts into clean and renewable sources of energy.
The price of energy efficiency has come down significantly, in addition governments are hanging huge incentives out there for people “going green”. If you’re not sure how to go about this, reach out and our advisors can help make a sustainable future a reality for your organization.
The Sustainable Energy Fund’s mission is to promote, research, and invest in clean and renewable energy technologies, energy conservation, energy efficiency and sustainable energy enterprises that provide opportunities and benefits for PPL Electric ratepayers.
We accomplish this by aiding entities such as small businesses, municipalities and nonprofits to reduce the consumption of energy from non-sustainable resources. We fund clean energy upgrades and assist established organizations receive financing.