Thursday, 03 August, 2017

MDA's Stellar Solar Forecasting System Predicts Eclipse Impacts on U.S. Solar Energy Supply

GAITHERSBURG, MD - (August 3, 2017) The first total eclipse to impact the contiguous United States since 1979 will take place later this month on August 21, 2017. With enhancements made to their already state-of-the-science system, MDA has utilized cutting edge technologies to model the impacts of the impending eclipse on solar generation potential across the country. The model predicts a major impact on solar generation within the United States as the eclipse moves from west to east across the country. Impacts will begin along the West Coast as early as 12:00 EDT (09:00 PDT) and will subside entirely along the East Coast around 16:00 EDT (13:00 PDT). Nationally, solar generation potential will decrease to less than 50% of capacity around 13:40 EDT (10:40 PDT) as a result of the total eclipse as shown in the graphic below. This represents a reduction of >11000MW of renewable energy supply for over 20 minutes. Based on percentage of capacity, the impact will be even greater in the Duke Energy’s Carolinas service area, where the potential solar generation will drop from greater than 90% at 13:15 EDT (10:15 PDT) to just 8% at 14:45 EDT (11:45 PDT). 

The MDA solar forecasting system is a highly skilled state-of-the-science system that has recently placed first in a competition hosted by an independent third-party that included a dozen weather service providers. MDA offers a wide range of solar forecasting capabilities, including forecasts for: solar farms, aggregate totals including at the RTO/ISO level and national, and behind the meter. 

The following animation and images are able to be distributed with above release. For additional graphics or media inquiries, please contact Chris Hyde at Christopher.Hyde@mdaus.com
 

Animations

 
 


MDA's solar model predicts a major impact on solar generation within the United States as the eclipse moves from west to east across the country on August 21, 2017. Impacts will begin along the West Coast as early as
12:00 EDT (09:00 PDT) and will subside entirely along the East Coast around 16:00 EDT (13:00 PDT). Nationally, solar generation potential will decrease to less than 50% of capacity around 13:40 EDT (10:30 PDT). Within the animation, red and blue colored circles represent U.S. solar farms. Small blue dots are farms highly impacted by the total eclipse, while the larger red circles are farms not being significantly impacted.*


Peak of Eclipse: Continental US

Red and blue colored circles represent solar farms. Small blue dots are those highly impacted by the total eclipse at 13:40 EDT (10:40 PDT) when impacts are greatest along the West Coast, while the larger red circles in the East are farms that have not yet been affected by the eclipse's passage. 



 
Map represents the time when the impact of the eclipse is greatest on national solar energy supply; the time when percent capacity drops below 50%. 


 
















Chart corresponds to the time when the impact of the eclipse is greatest on national solar energy supply.


Peak of Eclipse: CAISO & Western US

 

Red and blue colored circles represent solar farms. Small blue dots are those highly impacted by the total eclipse at 13:25 EDT (10:25 PDT) when impacts are greatest along the West Coast, while the larger red circles in the East are farms not yet being significantly impacted.

 
Map represents the time when the impact of the eclipse is greatest on CAISO's solar energy supply; the time when percent capacity drops below to nearly 30%. 


 

Chart corresponds to the time when the impact of the eclipse is greatest on CAISO's solar energy supply.

 Peak of Eclipse: Duke Energy's Carolinas Service Area & East Coast

Red and blue colored circles represent solar farms. Small blue dots are those highly impacted by the total eclipse at 14:45 EDT (11:45 PDT) when impacts are greatest along the East Coast, while the larger red circles in the West are farms that have rebounded after the eclipse's passage. 

 

Map represents the time when the impact of the eclipse is greatest on Duke Energy's Carolinas service area solar energy supply; the time when percent capacity drops below to around 8%. 

 

Chart corresponds to the time when the impact of the eclipse is greatest on Duke Energy's Carolinas service area solar energy supply.  




 

 

*Eclipse calculation specifications:
Map and numbers include all solar installations, photovoltaic and solar thermal, 1 MW or larger which are anticipated to be on the transmission grid on August 21, 2017. Behind-the-meter generation is not included. All sites are assumed to be fully operational and not curtailed. Calculations assume a sunny day and account for local variations in seasonally typical aerosol scattering and water vapor absorption and other physical factors affecting irradiance as well as the orientation, tilt, and tracking of each solar array. Amounts are 5-minute averages ending at the indicated time. Fraction of solar disk covered by lunar shadow is for the middle of the 5-minute period.

MDA's eclipse visualization utilizes the World Imagery (Firefly) ESRI basemap:  http://esri.maps.arcgis.com/home/item.html?id=5ebad49d08374b3ea012949bf58f521c


 















 




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