Impact of the 2017 Solar Eclipse on the Smart Grid

Research output: NRELPoster


With the increasing interest in using solar energy as a major contributor to the use of renewable generation, and with the focus on using smart grids to optimize the use of electrical energy based on demand and resources from different locations, the need arises to know the moons position in the sky with respect to the sun. When a solar eclipse occurs, the moon disk might totally or partially shade the sun disk, which can affect the irradiance level from the sun disk, consequently affecting a resource on the electric grid. The moons position can then provide smart grid users with information about how potential total or partial solar eclipses might affect different locations on the grid so that other resources on the grid can be directed to where they might be needed when such phenomena occurs. At least five solar eclipses occur yearly at different locations on Earth, they can last 3 hours or more depending on the location, and they can affect smart grid users. On August 21, 2017, a partial and full solar eclipse occurred in many locations in the United States, including at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado. Solar irradiance measurements during the eclipse were compared to the data generated by a model for validation at eight locations.
Original languageAmerican English
StatePublished - 2017

Publication series

NamePresented at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, 11 December 2017, New Orleans, Louisiana

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/PO-5D00-70608


  • direct normal irradiance
  • DNI
  • smart grid
  • solar eclipse


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