Solar Eclipse Could Cause Power Grid Problems

We're less than two weeks away from a witnessing a solar eclipse here on Delmarva. Aside from the usual warnings though, there are other important concerns officials want people to know about. Experts say when that total eclipse comes, there could be disruptions to the technology we use.

"When you're in an area of a full eclipse, a 70 mile wide band. when that band, when the darkness comes across these solar farms, their power drops to zero so their contribution to the power grid is zero," says Electrical Engineer Peter Jackson.

The eclipse will mean that solar panels will be totally without power, at least for a few minutes during the eclipse. The last time this happened in 1979, solar panels weren't widely used. But solar panels are a big contributor to the grid now. Experts say even a small disruption, could cause bigger issues.

"So the generators, like nuclear and coal, have to all of a sudden ramp up. Then the eclipse goes away, people are still using power but the solar cells come back online and creates a surge of power generation," explains Jackson.

According to Jackson, Salisbury is at risk of losing 80 percent of the power that solar panels normally direct to the grid, but other areas across the country may be more impacted. On the heels of the possible issue, some residents say they are concerned about the technology they use every day.

"Pretty much everything is set up on the cell phones computers it could cause a lot of things to be messed up," says Love Bryant.

However to put it all in perspective, one expert says the storms that are seen across Delmarva will actually  have a greater effect on our power grid than the solar eclipse will have.

Categories: Local News