Solar Panels During Eclipse: What Happens?

Solar Panels During Eclipse: What Happens?

August 14, 2017- CHARLOTTE, NC- As August 21st draws near, the buzz surrounding the upcoming eclipse increases and the excitement is palpable. But while many are excited to see such a rare occurrence and plan on making a journey to see the fullest effect of the eclipse, how do area homeowners with solar power feel?

Renu Energy Solutions has been installing solar since 2010 and keeps in touch with our solar clients. Homeowners like Vivian Lord and David Kluttz are among the thousands of electric customers across the Carolinas with solar power installed at their homes.

We asked them whether they’re more skeptical of this event, since presumably their PV systems would produce much less energy than normal when the sky darkens for about 90 minutes during what’s normally the sunniest part of the afternoon. Here’s what they’re saying:

Vivian Lord, who lives in Charlotte and has solar, shared her perspective: “As Interim Chair of Kinesiology at UNC Charlotte, I will be on campus that day. It’s Student Convocation Day, so during the eclipse viewing I’ll be with a group of Pre-Kinesiology students.

She continues, “I understand my solar production will be about zero during the height of the eclipse, just briefly for about 15 minutes, and will be decreased for a while before and after – I guess I’ll use my monitoring app to look and see where it registers!

And she’s more enthusiastic than dismayed about the event on the whole: “Of course we haven’t had this clear of a sighting for decades and won’t again for decades. Normally my solar arrays perform efficiently, it provides on average 75% of our power needs, the rest of the power we use comes from the grid. So I don’t think anyone would be discouraged from going solar by an eclipse.”

David Kluttz of Indian Trail is also taking the eclipse in stride: “I haven’t made any real preparations, as far as using our solar energy production goes, not any more than preparing for a rainy day.

He’s hitting the road, but won’t miss out on tracking his solar energy: “We want a good view, so we’re planning to drive down to Sumter, SC, which isn’t too far. At home in Indian Trail, it will be a “partial eclipse,” so even at the peak sunlight reduction, it probably be about the same as early morning on a perfectly clear day. My SunPower Equinox monitoring tracks every bit of energy production every day, and I get a report from SunPower every month for the previous month. I can log in to my system from anywhere and check any day, month, year or lifetime production. It’s more data than you can imagine!

David doubts he’ll lose out on too much solar production: “When you look at weekly or monthly production you will not be able to see the impact, so events like this aren’t a reason not to go solar.”

Solar Panels During Eclipse: Are They Effected?

Overall, even a major eclipse doesn’t present much of an issue for solar customers, just a curious blip of nighttime during the day. According to the Energy Information Administration, despite a substantial amount of solar power installed near the path of the eclipse, the grid uses sources that are diverse enough that it should maintain total reliability during the event. 1

So, don’t feel too bad for your friend with solar, just grab your official eclipse glasses, beat the traffic and experience a once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon.


No panic necessary: Eclipse won’t dramatically effect grid stability

Couple throws solar party

Couple throws solar party

Fort Mill couple throws solar party: This article appeared in the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association’s Newsletter

Keegan and Ali Ford were excited to share their recently installed rooftop solar project with their friends and neighbors. So they did something unique and hosted a reception at their home. As guests mingled in the November sunshine, they enjoyed hot dogs, burgers, and hands-on education, about how their household investment has helped the Fords achieve their energy goals.

The Fords’ solar array was more affordable than the family expected because it nearly eliminated their monthly bills. It also opened guests’ eyes to how this clean resource can meet (or exceed) a homeowner’s energy needs. Partygoers got the chance to talk with the solar energy professionals at Renu Energy Solutions, a Charlotte-based company who completed the installation and permitting process, about how they too can take advantage of these benefits. In fact, some guests made arrangements with the solar installer to get their free energy consultation.

The Ford family made their solar party a lighthearted affair all their own. Host Keegan Ford summed up the occasion, “We wanted our closest friends and colleagues to have an opportunity to learn to get some information while sharing some food, fun, and sun!”

Renu Energy Solutions is also an NCSEA member who subscribed to industry best practices, as outlined in the Consumer Guide to Customer-­Owned Solar Photovoltaic.

Solar Panels Going Up in Salisbury-Rowan

Solar Panels Going Up in Salisbury-Rowan

This article by Juanita Teschner appeared in the Catawba College Center for the Environment website

Solar panels in Salisbury and Rowan County are popping up everywhere, thanks to a community initiative that started in October.


Image credit Catawba College Center for the Environment

Solarize Salisbury-Rowan informs residents of the advantages of solar power and helps them reduce costs through competitive bids by installers who have already been professionally vetted. It is a cooperative venture of SmartPower, a national non-profit organization that focuses on clean energy, and the Center for the Environment at Catawba College.

Lane Wallace, Solarize Salisbury-Rowan coordinator, notes that 2015 is potentially the last year to take advantage of the North Carolina state tax credits, which are due to expire December 31, 2015. The Solarize project assistance, initially offered the last three months of 2014, will be extended until January 14.

“It has been heartening to see how many people are interested in solar energy,” Wallace says. “Solar is actually very competitive as an investment and as an energy source. Studies show that investing in solar right now can show returns 20 to 30 percent higher than investing in taxable mutual funds for homeowners. And it is a relatively risk-free investment.”

Wallace refers to a statement by Jim Warren, executive director of NC WARN: “Solar photovoltaic power is now cheaper than kilowatt-hours from newly constructed dirty power plants when all costs are considered.”

Paul Bardinas, CEO and president of Freirich Foods Inc. in Salisbury, had already installed solar panels on his business so he knew about the advantages of solar power. “It’s working as promised,” he says, “and on track to pay for itself within 10 years.”

Energy Solutions installed solar panels on his family’s home on December 19 through the Solarize program. The installation will provide 75 percent of their electricity, including providing power for his and his wife Carrie’s Nissan Leafs, which are all-electric vehicles.

Bardinas calculates that his home installation will be totally paid for in 8-9 years, assuming no rate increases from Duke Power. “Then it will produce power potentially for another 20 years after that,” he says. “That’s essentially free money.”

Bardinas notes that this installation has been easier than the one on his business because of Solarize Salisbury-Rowan. “It has brought regional installers that I didn’t know about to this market,” he says. “Bringing those two groups together – folks who are interested in solar and qualified technicians and installers that can do the work – has helped a lot. Beforehand, I had to go to South Carolina to find somebody to do our commercial project. It took a lot of time and effort to vet those people.”

John Wear, executive director of the Center for the Environment, is pleased with the interest Salisbury-Rowan residents and business owners have shown in solar power. “It’s not only cost-effective,” he says. “It’s also good for the environment. Solar energy users automatically lower their ecological footprint by using this renewable source.”