California ISO Readies Grid for Total Eclipse

Jul 25, 2017 11:15:32 AM by NuEnergen

Aug 21 solar eclipse.jpg

California's Independent System Operator, CAISO, is currently preparing for the impending complete solar eclipse, happening on August 21, 2017. Utility Dive published an article in early May titled, “California ISO preps solar-heavy grid for total eclipse this summer" which detailed how CAISA  appears ready to handle the significant demand load that will be caused by the eclipse.

The eclipse is expected to reduce California’s solar grid output by over 50%, and CAISO is keeping busy as that date approaches. By that time the CAISO expects to have almost 10,000 MW of capacity in its system, more than enough to keep its service completely reliable. During the eclipse the projected output of over 8,700 MW will fall to under 3,200 MW, before returning to normal.


The eclipse is expected to occur mid-morning on the 21st, blocking over 75% of the sun in Northern California and over 60% in Southern California. The ISO has such a great amount of solar energy on its grid that it expects few issues despite the high drop in solar rays at the time. Additionally, it will lean on backup generators for added security. This is the first eclipse for the CAISO, Europe experienced something similar in the Spring of 2015 for three hours and was able to function normally.


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