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