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Solar eclipse poses energy challenge

Friday’s solar eclipse will present a significant challenge for the UK’s electricity network and be an unprecedented test for operators of power networks, as reported by the BBC. Power demand is expected to fall and then surge. As the moon obscures much of the sun, the electricity generated by solar panels is expected to drop by up to 75%. But National Grid believes the overall impact will be “manageable” even though, much more electricity is generated from solar panels now than during the last eclipse in 1999.

It is the first time that an eclipse in Europe is expected to have an impact on the operation of electricity grids. Germany faces the biggest test, with about 39GW (gigawatts) of installed solar capacity. The UK has 5GW of solar, the equivalent to the power output from about eight to 10 gas fired power stations. But while the amount of electricity generated from solar will fall during the eclipse, National Grid is not expecting any major impact.

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