Watch the solar eclipse impact the US grid in real time

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A total solar eclipse will bring complete darkness to 12 US states today – watch live to see its effect on solar power and the grid across all 50 US states. 

The US Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), and the North American Electric Reliability Corporation have partnered to evaluate the impact of the eclipse on the grid.

Join an NREL livestream during the eclipse for a look at how the power grid is impacted by the loss of solar generation and how that reduction of generation is managed at the regional and interconnection levels.

The sun will be blocked from view for about four minutes, the period known as “totality,” but will be partially covered for up to 3.5 hours, and even areas far outside the path of totality will experience some level of reduced solar output.

Viewers will see exactly what the NREL control room is seeing in near real time, including real-time information from grid operators such as current generation mix and changing energy demand as the eclipse traverses the US.

The livestream coverage will run for the entirety of the eclipse, and no registration is required – you can join at any time.

NREL researchers have calculated the maximum power reduction from solar photovoltaics today in all three interconnection areas in the US.

As the eclipse cuts a path from Texas to Maine, they expect a 71% peak power reduction in the East, 45% in the West, and 93% in the Texas grid, ERCOT.

Due to the number of solar power plants in the Eastern Interconnection, this region will experience the largest reduction in overall power that would otherwise be generated from the sun. However, the impact in ERCOT is much higher in terms of percentage of reduction.

Following the solar eclipse, NREL will conduct post-event analysis on the performance of the power systems during the eclipse and successful mitigation measures taken by grid operators, and publish the findings.

“A systematic study of the impacts of the eclipse will provide valuable insights for grid operators across the country as they prepare for extreme weather events,” said Marilyn Jayachandran of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, a collaborator on the study.

Join the NREL’s livestream here.

Read more: Solar topped coal in Texas for the first time ever in March


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