Eclipse could impact solar energy production

Thursday, August 17, 2017
Eclipse could impact solar energy production
Eclipse could impact solar energy production. Jeannette Reyes reports during Action News at 6 p.m. on August 17, 2017.

AUDUBON, Pa. (WPVI) -- With the highly anticipated solar eclipse fast approaching, a variety of preparations are underway.

Most people are scrambling for ways to take in the rare sight.

At PJM it requires quite a bit more logistical work.

The last solar eclipse occurred in 1979, before the rise of solar power.

Andrew L. Ott, President and CEO said, "We've been preparing for a few months on looking at the impacts of the solar eclipse and it's not something we've seen before because solar power is relatively new."

PJM Interconnection is North America's largest grid operator.

On the 21st, solar power generators will lose fuel source in varying degrees from 1:30 to 3:40.

It expects to see a reduction of up to 2500 megawatts which normally powers 2 and a half million homes.

Reserve power will make up for the potential loss.

President and CEO Andrew Ott likens the event to long periods of overcast skies, heat waves or severe weather.

It acts like a cloud. It stops the sun from getting to the solar panels so you get the reduction in power generated in the solar panels which we see as a reduction in electricity reduced

Having dealt with Hurricanes Sandy and Irene, Ott says they're well equipped to handle and are looking forward next week's solar eclipse.

"We prepare on a day to day basis for any of that. Storms are major events on the power grid, so for this, it's no different we are essentially preparing to make sure we have enough stand by generations to turn on when the solar panels go off," Ott said.


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