SOLAR ECLIPSE WON’T LEAVE NEW JERSEY WITHOUT LIGHTS, POWER
Up to 2,500 megawatts of solar generation will be temporarily affected by the eclipse, but grid operator has plenty of power in reserve
When the day starts turning to night later this month, there’s no cause for alarm. At least the lights will go on.
Or that’s the assurance being given by the nation’s largest power grid operator, PJM Interconnection.
The total solar eclipse on August 21 will reduce generation from solar resources, whether they’re rooftop panels on a home or a solar farm providing power to the grid. PJM expects a temporary reduction of up to 2,500 megawatts.
Not to worry says the grid operator. It will use its sufficient reserves for replacement power.
The total eclipse will only be visible to portions of the United States, on a path from Oregon to South Carolina. A partial eclipse, in which about 73 percent of the sun will be blocked, will be visible from 1:22 p.m. to 4 p.m. in New Jersey.
“Certainly, this is an unusual solar event, but as far as potential impacts to the grid, PJM and its members are prepared,’’ said PJM president and CEO Andrew Ott. “While this is an anticipated event, we routinely plan and prepare for unpredictable events or things that can’t be forecast far in advance, such as severe storms and waves.’’
The exact amount of solar power affected by the eclipse will depend on how sunny or cloudy it is that afternoon. At its peak, the sun will look like a crescent, according to officials.