The recent total solar eclipse was a spectacle to watch, but it was also stressful on our grid. As solar panels have sprouted up across California over the past couple of decades, this eclipse represented a key test in our grid’s ability to cope with a sudden drop in electricity generation.
The graph below illustrates the sharp decrease in solar generation as the eclipse began at about 9AM.
Rob Rob Nikolewski reported that while the CAISO (California’s electricity grid operators) prepared for a loss of approximately 4,200 MW, they estimate that California only had to cope with the loss of approximately 3,400 MW.
“We didn’t have any major challenges on the system, even minor challenges,” said Eric Schmitt, CAISO vice president of operations. “We are very pleased about how smoothly it went … All the resources performed the way they were supposed to perform, our planning was excellent (and) the market performed well.”