What will happen to Solar Energy during the Eclipse Tomorrow?

On August 21, 2017, parts of the United States will experience a total solar eclipse — when the moon crosses between the Earth and the sun and blocks out the sun’s light. This could have a significant negative effect on the power generated by solar panels.

Full solar eclipse, astronomical phenomenon - full sun eclipse. The Moon covering the Sun in a partial eclipse. 3D illustration.

The eclipse is only expected to last approximately an hour and 33 minutes, but even in that short amount of time, there will be a great loss in solar power. The MDA Weather Service predicts that solar power will decrease by nearly half of its capacity nationwide. Although this is a single event, it is capable of causing serious problems.

In California alone, the eclipse is expected to wipe out nearly six gigawatts of solar electricity. That is enough electricity to power several million homes!

Solar power is becoming more and more common and is a great alternative to traditional methods. The only problem is that the sole power source that makes solar energy possible is the Sun. If the Sun is blocked, solar panels will not be able to receive the power they need. America’s last solar eclipse was in 1979, and just in the past decade, solar energy has grown by an average of approximately 70% annually. This is producing nearly 45 gigawatts of solar power now, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.

The Eclipse that will take place tomorrow August 21st, 2017 will affect nearly all of the United States. You can expect to see this happen around noon, depending on your location and current weather.

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The cost of electricity could temporarily increase during this event, however, precautions have been put in place to try and ensure that it has as little impact as possible.

This event just goes to show, how much we rely on the Earth and all of its resources. There have always been skeptics of renewable energy which question the reliability of depending on the wind and solar power as a major source of power. The Department of Energy is studying this exact topic, and many have argued that the nations power grid can accommodate much more wind and solar power plants, even with fluctuations in the weather and other situations such as a solar eclipse. Tomorrow will be a great test to see just how the nation will be able to respond to the temporary decrease in solar power and could prove that renewable energy can be the primary source for the nations power grid at some point.

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