Solar Eclipse: 2017 Edition

As solar nerds at heart, the Apricity Renewables team will be taking a moment of our time to view today’s solar eclipse!

Here in Ontario we won’t be lucky enough to witness the event in the “path of totality” but should see roughly 70% coverage at the peak, which will occur around 2:30PM in Eastern and Southern Ontario. If you find yourself unmoved by the partial eclipse seen in the province today, you will only have to wait until April 2024 when another total solar eclipse will follow a path stretching from Windsor to Montreal, and across the Maritimes. If you find yourself along today’s path, which runs from Oregon to South Carolina, you will be treated with a total eclipse as the moon transits between Earth’s surface and the sun. The point of totality on the surface will last for about 3 minutes (not as long as you would expect). In fact, NASA is planning to extend this time by chasing the point with high-speed aircraft, allowing for extended high-altitude research on the solar atmosphere.

The 2017 Solar Eclipse will impact solar energy generation across North America, with the California ISO region being significantly impacted. The California ISO anticipates a peak drop of 6GW during today's solar eclipse and is prepared to manage the temporary drop in solar production which will last roughly 3 hours. CAISO has leveraged data collected during a solar eclipse in Germany in 2015, a country where total nominal PV power installed is an incredible 41 GW!

In Ontario, IESO has provided a useful graph to illustrate the anticipated impact on demand as a result of reduced solar generation and also increased lighting loads:

Figure 1- Estimated Demand increase on August 21 due to Solar Eclipse, compared against typical sunny demand day. Source:  Independent Electricity System Operator

Figure 1- Estimated Demand increase on August 21 due to Solar Eclipse, compared against typical sunny demand day. Source: Independent Electricity System Operator

While we are looking forward to witnessing this rare event, it is important to follow the safety guidelines  and recommended practices when viewing the solar eclipse. We have posted a few helpful links below to help our fellow solar nerds:

Eclipse Safety

Don't Let an Image of the Eclipse be your Phone's Last