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The solar eclipse impact on solar energy

Rooftop aerial image
Ali Ingersoll
August 15, 2017

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The solar eclipse is happening soon – a time in the afternoon when the sun and moon will cross paths. For some places, there will be a total eclipse; in Western New York, there will be about 70 to 75% eclipse – meaning those will special glasses and telescopes will be able to see the sun’s crescent.

“If you’re blocking out the sun, you’re going to decrease energy,” said Dr. Kevin Williams with the Whitworth Ferguson Planetarium at Buffalo State College. “At the start of the eclipse, you get a little less energy and then at the max, it’ll be about 75 covered and then it’ll be less until the eclipse is done.”

The last time Western New York experienced an eclipse like this, solar panels seemed futuristic.  Now, as more people are installing them at their homes and communities are putting up solar farms, people are having to plan for what it’ll mean to have the energy intake cut back for a few hours.

“They’ve prepared for it and they’re prepared to get energy from other places,” said Dr. Williams, adding those places include batteries, wind, or coal energy.

Only about 1% of the region’s grid runs from power generated by the sun.

“It’ll be like a storm or a cloud rolling through for a few minutes or so,” said Dr. Williams. “A couple minutes of a little reduced energy but nothing serious or overly measurable on the grand scale of things.”