SMUD prepared for solar eclipse
August 21 event will cause solar production to dip but with no SMUD grid impact
The morning forecast for August 21 calls for darker skies in Northern California and across the country. That’s when a near-total solar eclipse will occur—from about 9 a.m. to about 11:30 a.m. for our region—during which time the sun will be obscured by up to 76 percent.
Given the growing penetration of solar energy in California, the electric utility industry and other energy stakeholders have considered the potential impacts of such a significant solar event.
SMUD has secured additional reserve power to ensure it’s able to meet the increased demand when the availability of solar reduces because of the eclipse. SMUD does not anticipate any problems meeting the Sacramento-area community’s demand for electricity.
SMUD, for its part, has almost 300 megawatts (MW) of solar power in its service territory. Approximately 140 MW is utility-connected solar generation and about 150 MW is “behind the meter”, customer-owned solar generation.
The timing of the eclipse is fortuitous for SMUD and for California in general as demand on the grid during those hours can be considerably lower than in the late afternoon hours.
Typically, solar production can be impacted by everyday weather events like cloud cover, which is why SMUD’s energy portfolio, including its renewable generation resources, is very diverse. By going the extra step and securing additional reserves, SMUD has the flexibility to manage the increased demand on the grid during the eclipse and the drop off in demand during the transition out of the eclipse.
For more information about SMUD and its award-winning renewable and energy efficiency programs, visit SMUD.org.