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Europe's Solar Eclipse Presents Trouble for Solar Power

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posted on Mar, 19 2015 @ 10:21 AM
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So a solar eclipse over Europe is going to put strain on the power grid there. In Germany, 7% of electricity is derived from the sun. The problem isn't that the sun will go dark - that happens every night - but that the sun will go dark so quickly.


The last time an eclipse of this scale happened in Europe was in 1999. Back then, Germany got less than 1 percent of its power from solar energy. Today Germany is the world’s most solar-dependent country, drawing nearly 7 percent of its electricity from the sun. So when the passing moon blots out the sun, will the country’s lights go out, too?



So what’s the big deal, exactly? The sun goes down every night, of course, and Germany is quite accustomed to cloudy days. (It gets about as much sunshine as Alaska.) The difference with a solar eclipse is the speed at which sunlight will disappear from, and then return to, the power system. All electric grids operate on the fundamental principle that supply and demand must always be in perfect equilibrium, second by second. That dynamic becomes complicated when so much of your power comes from a source like solar, over which grid operators have zero control. And it’s especially tricky when the fluctuation is so rapid and extreme.


However, Germany has been preparing for this and many experts think that their power grid is now flexible enough to handle the event without glitches. Other countries are watching to see how viable solar power is, even during an eclipse.

Slate




posted on Mar, 19 2015 @ 10:27 AM
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Can't handle the eclipse? Bwahahaha.. this gotta be a joke?

What if there was no eclipse, but just clouds.. for the entire 2 hours??? OMG Germany will collapse!

Ohh come on!



posted on Mar, 19 2015 @ 10:27 AM
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That's just scare tactics BS from the nuclear lobby.

They do it all the time. They menaced my country that there would be blackouts in winter if we did not extend the life of obsolete nuclear plants. Nothing happened of course. They are just afraid to lose market shares.



I'll check back here in 24 hours to prove it was all BS and nothing bad happened.
edit on 19-3-2015 by Develo because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 19 2015 @ 10:28 AM
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originally posted by: kloejen
Can't handle the eclipse? Bwahahaha.. this gotta be a joke?

What if there was no eclipse, but just clouds.. for the entire 2 hours??? OMG Germany will collapse!

Ohh come on!


Clouds refract sunlight, eclipses don't.



posted on Mar, 19 2015 @ 10:39 AM
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originally posted by: Eunuchorn
Clouds refract sunlight, eclipses don't.


True. But the eclipse won't be total in Germany.

About 90% of the sun will be covered, its almost equivalent to a cloudy day, no ?

Eclipse data

Don't worry, Europe will survive the eclipse

edit on 19/3/2015 by kloejen because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 19 2015 @ 10:44 AM
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originally posted by: kloejen

originally posted by: Eunuchorn
Clouds refract sunlight, eclipses don't.


Don't worry, Europe will survive the eclipse


That's what I'm worried about



posted on Mar, 19 2015 @ 11:12 AM
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a reply to: darkbake

Germany power grid is not capable to handle new rapidly fluctuating sources. In fact large part of current flow from northern wind farms to Bavaria goes through power grid of Czech Rep. built in bolshevik era. Our industry was almost eradicated in 90. and rising consumption of households did not fill the gap which is now used by Germany. This should be calculated while "success" of renewable sources in Germany is decided - they did not payed full price yet. Less then 5% of long time planned north-south lines are ready and if the grid will be "self sufficient" in 10 years it would be miracle.



posted on Mar, 19 2015 @ 11:13 AM
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a reply to: kloejen

I'm willing to bet there is more sunlight on a cloudy day than there is during an eclipse, even if only 90% of the sun is covered. That said, my opinion is also like many in this thread - that the solar power people have this covered.

It is still interesting to think about the challenges solar power has.

It will be easy to check and see if there were any problems since the eclipse is tomorrow.
edit on 19amThu, 19 Mar 2015 11:15:54 -0500kbamkAmerica/Chicago by darkbake because: (no reason given)

edit on 19amThu, 19 Mar 2015 11:16:19 -0500kbamkAmerica/Chicago by darkbake because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 19 2015 @ 12:01 PM
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We had an eclipse on this side of the pond a few months ago, it didn't happen that quickly, and it wasn't really very dark.
I'm having a hard time seeing how there could be an issue.



posted on Mar, 19 2015 @ 12:22 PM
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a reply to: darkbake

In Germany it would be 75-80%. The problem is relatively rapid onset and outset over long stretch of regional parts of national grid - photovoltaic is distributed source connected in few hierarchical levels to backbone. Eclipse will do something similar to wave in topology which is not designed to withstand such waves. For sure it is manageable and probably nothing extreme will happen. It is interesting in itself as unseen challenge on path to renewable.
So renewable is distributed source while our grids are built as distribution network for central power plants - often connected directly to large consumer (city/factory park). This does not add up and is screaming for fundamental investments: The backbone have to be capable to balance fluctuations from regional grids and/or regional grids have to store energy on local bases. For example many factories use compressed air as propellent for heavy machinery, eg windmill/photovoltaic/grid can run compressors filling rel. inexpensive storage.
Goal is grid in interconnected island topology which can share overproduction/higher demand on industrial level. If we do not want to build some extreme monstrosity, energy should be consumed where it was generated hence we need some rel. short term but rapid energy storage/restoration facilities strong enough to drive our island for 24h. Why? Because our lives are day by day more dependent on electrons pushed by alternators or some weird quantum magic.
Consumption patterns shifted, distribution patterns shifted but base grid remains almost same as at 70.



posted on Mar, 19 2015 @ 06:49 PM
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a reply to: JanAmosComenius

So what you are suggesting, if I can decipher your meaning, is that in order for solar technologies and the grid to get along better, the grid needs more nodes, and less centralised power production? I can see how that could be. If production of energy is distributed around, for instance, if every home has a small wind turbine, and a solar panel or three, then that could be made to work.

I think the main problem with doing a fully distributed power production and transfer grid, where production responsibility is undertaken by individual households, is that no one would really be able to make money from it, and it would stop certain folk making money. I love the idea, but people will veto it, if it costs them jobs and revenue to allow it!




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