US Grid Operators Brace for Solar Eclipse this Summer

US Grid Operators Brace for Solar Eclipse this Summer

May 5, 2017

by Margarita Fournier; Copyright 2016 by Competitive Assets, LLC.  All rights reserved

On 5/3/17, S&P Global reported on how the US grid operators are preparing for the 8/21/17 expected solar eclipse. “A total solar eclipse forecast for Aug. 21 will turn daylight into darkness across the United States, abruptly de-energizing several thousand megawatts at solar power plants in the country’s largest solar markets. As the astronomical event passes, those same solar farms and rooftop systems will ricochet back online, forcing grid operators to take extraordinary measures. ‘It will impact California significantly as well as the solar fleet,’ said Steve Berberich, president and CEO of the California ISO, at a May 1 meeting. While the trajectory of the total eclipse will miss California, passing through Oregon shortly after 10 a.m. Pacific time, the country’s largest solar market will be ‘about 65% dim,’ Berberich said. ‘Obscuration rates’ will range from 76% in the northern San Joaquin Valley to 58% in Imperial Valley, bordering Mexico, added Amber Motley, the ISO’s manager of short-term forecasting, in a briefing on the expected impacts of the solar eclipse.”

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