Solar Eclipse to Affect California Power Grid

From California to South Carolina, Americans are bracing for a total solar eclipse. This is a phenomenon that Americans haven’t experienced in a century. However, Californian skies and those around the country will darken as the moon comes between the sun and our planet earth. But what happens to the State of California that heavily relies on solar electricity? This is a question that many people from the state have asked. The people who operate the grid system have mentioned that no home, industry or business will run out of power as they have prepared enough.

A manager from Californian Independent System Operator confirmed to the Los Angeles Times that they have adequately planned for the natural phenomena that will start at 9 am local time. For a period of two and a half minutes, the moon will block the path of the sun rays. Total solar eclipse will happen one hour after the phenomenon begins. However, depending on their positions, viewers will only get to see the moon cover the sun by approximately 90 percent to 50 percent. Steve Berberic who is the president of Cal-ISO said that his team will ensure that power continues to flow whenever necessary despite the unusual circumstances.

Steve mentioned that he is confident with the technology of his grid and the market. He also expressed his confidence in his team and staff as they navigate through the operational challenges of the solar eclipse. To make things easier for the electricity companies, the California Public Utilities Commission has sent a message to the public urging them to reduce their consumption and also unplug electronics that will not be in use that day. The solar eclipse is expected to end at 11 am. If customers can agree to this plan, it will result in the consumption of fewer fossil fuels. Hence little greenhouses gasses will be emitted that day.

Solar power plants in California are estimated to have a capacity of 10,000 megawatts. This means that 40 percent of California base load is supplied through solar power plants. This reliance on solar energy can be attributed to the desire of the State of California to use clean energy. The state has an ambitious plan that requires the state to use 50 percent clean energy by 2030. However, to cover the load on 21st August, the power grid is expected to rely on other energy sources to produce the electricity. Close to six million homes will be affected.