Using Solar Energy to “View” the Eclipse

Posted by in Front, News, on August 22, 2017

One of the more unique methods of “viewing” the eclipse is to watch the real-time monitoring from a solar energy systems along the eclipse path. Below is a graph from one of the dozens of  systems we have installed in BC. Notice the smooth downward curve as the moon blocks the sun.

There have been some sensationalist articles recently claiming the eclipse will have a dramatic effect on solar energy production.  However the reality is not quite so interesting.

The system shown above produced a 130 kWh on August 21st.  The day before it had produced 133 kWh.  So that was only a 2% drop in production.  Energy systems along the path of totality would have seen a little larger drop.

A cloudy day compared to one with full sun can result in production drops of more than 50%.  So the eclipse effect was much smaller than the natural variability that occurs regularly.   A grid of 100% renewable energy can be designed to handle this variability  using a combination of firm base loads (like hydro-power and geo-thermal power) and storage (batteries).

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