Solar eclipse will impact thousands of solar arrays around U.S.

Published 9:59 am, Monday, August 7, 2017

The Aug. 21 solar eclipse will reduce the sunlight needed to create electricity at around 1,900 utility-scale solar arrays around the U.S., but the eclipse is not expected harm grid reliability, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

But solar panels in the eclipse’s so-called path of totality — where the sun will be totally eclipsed by the moon — will be impacted the most, with direct sunlight disappearing for three minutes. The path of the total eclipse stretches from coast to coast, and will start in Oregon and move east to South Carolina, according to the Energy Department.

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There are only 17 utility-scale solar arrays in the total solar eclipse, most of them in Oregon. Sunlight shining on solar panels in North Caroline and Georgia will be about 90 percent obscured.

Although not in the path of the total eclipse, California’s grid stands to be impacted the most by loss of sunlight. The state’s 8,800 megawatts of utility-scale solar accounts for 40 percent of all the solar capacity in the U.S. During the eclipse, California expects to lose more than half of its solar generating capacity between 9 a.m. and noon on Aug. 21. The California Independent System Operator, which oversees the state’s grid, plans to replace solar power from natural gas and hydropower plants. 






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7 August 2017 3:00 pm
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