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SOLAR ECLIPSE AND SOLAR POWER PLANTS

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While North America is anxiously waiting for the solar eclipse, the solar energy industry is very cautious about the event. Power plant managers and electricity system operators in North America are cautiously preparing for this event when the moon passes between the earth and the sun.

An eclipse is caused by the alignment of the earth, the moon, and the sun. It’s a relatively rare occurrence because the moon doesn’t orbit in the same plane as the earth and sun. However, when all three line up, the moon covers up the disc of the sun, and those in the direct path of the moon’s shadow will be able to see the sun become dark.

August 2017 solar eclipse in its totality will last for about two minutes and 40 seconds. The effect of this total solar eclipse will turn the day into the night. Eclipses have happened before but this eclipse is happening at the time electricity generation from solar and wind are exceeding electricity generation form other tradition sources such as hydro, coal, nuclear, and so on.

During the solar eclipse, electricity generation from solar power plants will drop to zero and electricity system operators have to match this drop with electricity from other sources such as gas, and hydro to keep the electricity grid stable and to provide electricity to customers during this short period. Furthermore, when the solar eclipse come to an end, solar plants will suddenly start pumping huge amount of electricity into the grid and electricity system operators must react to these changes in a timely manner to keep the electric grid stable and to provide electricity to their customers.

Even though Electricity system operators reach out to “peaker” power plants to smooth out swings from solar and wind on a regular basis on a much smaller scale the sudden drop and jump in demand for power from the grid due to eclipse would be much larger and raises worries about overburdening a system that will already be running at a summer peak.

This eclipse is happening at an interesting time when solar power plant capacities in many countries are increasing steadily. This event also will expose us to many unknowns and will help to make the solar power plants more robust and stable in years to come.  We are confident that when we pass through this event we will have more experience, data and confidence that are necessary to make solar energy main stream.

GLOBAL SOLAR PANEL INSTALLATION MAY REACH 49 GIGAWATTS IN 2014

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Written by Nani Pradeepan, P.Eng.

As the new year dawn, businesses are looking forward to 2014. Among them is the solar industry, which is anticipating continued growth into the new year as international markets continue to expand.

At least one industry research firm has taken a bullish approach anticipating that the global level of solar installations could reach 49 gigawatts by the end of 2014. And another research firm anticipates that the world will have 43 gigawatts of solar panels installed by the end of 2014. Either way both companies are showing strong and stable growth for the industry.

Market conditions have stabilized for the solar industry over the past few years, following a period of wild growth, which led first to undersupply then oversupply of solar panels by photovoltaic manufacturers in particular. Manufacturing over-capacity and pricing erosion within the PV industry was previously a key factor in limiting annual growth to 10 percent to 20 percent between 2011 and 2013. With a more stable pricing environment and the prospects of increased end-market globalization, research firms forecasts a return to annual growth above 30 percent for the PV industry in 2014. It also anticipated that during that six-month period in 2014, 22 gigawatts of solar panels will be installed.

PROVINCIAL FIRST: ONTARIO’S INDEPENDENT ELECTRICITY OPERATOR EMBRACES NEW STORAGE METHODS AS EFFECTIVE GRID BALANCER

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PROVINCIAL FIRST: ONTARIO’S INDEPENDENT ELECTRICITY OPERATOR EMBRACES NEW STORAGE METHODS AS EFFECTIVE GRID BALANCER

Calling it an “important milestone” in the evolution of Ontario’s electricity system, Paul Murphy, the president and chief executive of Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator, announced Thursday that energy and process storage technologies would be added to the mix of options available to provide regulation services to the province’s grid — that is, keeping supply […]

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