The solar eclipse that plunged many areas of the U.S. into complete darkness on Monday, offered an entirely foreseeable stage for extensive experiments to the power sector. Not often, the power grid operators, electricity generators, and utilities, get such a precise and early notice about over 12,000 MW of solar power supplies to drop off their systems suddenly. Many companies utilize the circumstances to their favor by testing software, plants, and markets refined in the past few years in a hope for the day when renewable energy will become the leading source of power across the world.
David Shepheard, the managing director at Accenture Plc, stated that the eclipse was the “predictable dress rehearsal” for the future grid. It was the perfect test “for the operation of the grid in case the sun does not shine and the wind does not blow,” he added.
Charlie Gay, the director at SunShot Initiative, the U.S. Department of Energy, expected the eclipse to offer instant validation for the forecasting models for power that are currently being developed. The department actively worked with the grid operators and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in order to improve the controls of the software to balance the demand and the supply during the period of the eclipse.
By utilizing the information by satellites and the maps of solar plant locations, the group could match the predictions with what actually happened before, during, and after the eclipse. Various grid operators, such as Southwest Power Pool and PJM Interconnection LLC also utilized the eclipse similarly for the measurement of precisely how much rooftop solar power their systems can collect.