Sharp solar production loss from the solar eclipse

solar production loss during the solar eclipseWell, the solar eclipse didn't exactly ruin solar production, but it certainly has been a hot topic in recent days.

Last Friday, we answered the question: How will the solar eclipse affect solar power? Although the country did not anticipate any eclipse-related blackouts, more than 100 million solar panels were expected to be affected dropping output by more than 20%.

So, when Monday came along, a fairly wide swath across 14 U.S. states was blanketed in total darkness for around two minutes. Power system officials reported no major reliability issues. However, solar power took a dramatic dip, particularly in California, as the moon obscured a large portion of the sun.

Solar production from utility power plants and residential installations, increases at a steady rate as the sun comes up in the morning. It normally reaches peak production around noon time.

At 9AM, solar production saw a sharp decline as the eclipse rolled in.

And the results are...

Officials expected a loss of about 4,300 megawatts of solar production during the eclipse. That is enough electricity to power between 3.2 million to 4.3 million homes. But in the end, only about 3,400 megawatts of output disappeared.

The real challenge for grid operators came from dispatching other sources of energy to substitute for the loss of solar. California grid managers tapped into hydroelectric power and thermal sources to make up the difference.

Then, solar output roared back as the eclipse moved eastward at midday when the sun’s radiation is strongest.

California has the the largest solar electric capacity of all the states and Monday’s results indicated that more solar will not overwhelm the power system. This event was kind of a dress rehearsal for a future in which intermittent solar sources play a bigger role in the power supply. California aims to generate half its power from renewable sources by the year 2030.

Here are a few examples of solar production loss provided by our customers. How did your solar production fare during the Great American Solar Eclipse?

production loss for a homeowner

more solar production loss

Please call us if you didn't see something similar.  It might mean there is something amiss with your solar array.  And, please definitely call us if you cannot find or view your monitoring software!