Texas solar farms brace for eclipse, but storage issues remain

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The Lone Star State has ramped up solar power installations since 2017, the last time there was a solar eclipse on the continent.

In the case of anticipated events such as solar eclipses, power companies and grid operators can prepare in advance to cover losses and keep the lights on. But the steps they’ve taken to protect the grid from the eclipse portend a more complex problem that extends beyond the brief period when the sun is blocked.

The total path will affect the entire United States from Texas to Maine, and will have a total solar capacity of 6.5 gigawatts, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). The moon directly blocked sunlight for only four minutes, but sunlight in its total path could have been restricted for up to two hours, the EIA said.

The agency predicted that Texas would lose 90 to 99 percent of its solar power during the eclipse because it is in a total orbit.

Although solar power makes up only a small portion of the energy generated in Texas, the state’s production and output have expanded dramatically in recent years. The state’s solar capacity increased by 37 percent last year compared to 2022, making it second only to California in solar generation at 31,700 gigawatt hours, according to a recent report from the nonprofit Climate Central. It became a state.

“The difference between now and 2017 is that in 2017 there was very little solar power in this country, and now we have a significant amount of solar power, and much of that solar power is in Texas. “Thomas Overby, director of the Smart Grid Center (SGC), said. ), a professor in the electrical and computer engineering department at Texas A&M University, said in an interview with The Hill.

“On a sunny day, 25% of our power generation can come from sunlight,” Overby added. “Without an eclipse, you’ll get about 50 percent of the maximum sunlight, but with an eclipse, that will drop to near zero, maybe up to 7 or 8 percent.”

See the full report for more details. zahir.com.

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