Friday, March 13, 2015

Solar eclipse's effect on solar power

On March 20, there will be a total solar eclipse over the Atlantic Ocean, Europe, Northern Asia, and Northern Africa.  The eclipse will begin around 8:40am and will last until ~11:15am. There has not been a total solar eclipse in Europe since 1999.  Over the course of this 16 year gap the use of solar panels (and their storage capacity) has exponentially increased. Thankfully scientists have known about this event for months, and have been working with energy officials to find alternative short term energy boosts to compensate for the lost solar energy. The energy grid will see a large immediate drop off in energy, as well as a large sudden return, which due to the relatively low input from solar, should for the time be manageable. Scientists are trying to use this event to foresee what can be done if the shift occurs to use ever greater solar panels, as at some point it will not be feasible to make up for the lost energy and the grid will simply cease supply to non-necessities.

Personally I find this extremely interesting, as we always hear the push to go renewable, and how more renewable can you get than the sun after all? As solar eclipses are quite rare thankfully, in the far future, people may simply have to: go outside, spend time with loved ones, or adjust to a few hours without power during future eclipses. Energy experts will have their work cut out for them though figuring out how to deal with the sudden loss/return of energy, which could be extremely damaging. Perhaps in the future we will be able to segment portions of solar panels to turn back on, thus easing into the energy return. All I can say, is I wish I was in Europe to see this!
--Jacob Wrzesien

1 comment:

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