Solar panels
Solar panels. File photo

San Diego Gas & Electric officials said they expect to lose about 500 megawatts of solar energy production during Monday’s solar eclipse, but they expect to have enough power on hand to meet demand.

The projected loss is the equivalent of 14 percent of the electricity customers consume on a typical warm summer day, officials said.

“Managing and operating a power grid is a 24/7 job and while we plan ahead, there are often quick decisions that need to be made to maintain a balance between the exact amount of electricity at the exact time to consistently meet the energy needs of the region,” said Caroline Winn, SDG&E CEO. “Predicting how the obstructed sun will interfere with solar production has added another level of complexity, but we want to reassure our customers that we have secured enough resources to meet their energy needs — even with significantly less solar generation on hand.”

SDG&E said solar energy generation typically fluctuates throughout the day and is also impacted by weather. Officials expect to make up the difference via natural gas facilities and energy storage.

SDG&E and the California Independent System Operator, which manages the energy grid in the state, plan to monitor the situation during the eclipse to ensure the stable and reliable flow of power.

While there has yet to be a call for customers to conserve power during the eclipse, those who wish to do so can set their thermostat to 78 degrees, avoid charging electric vehicles during peak demand hours, do loads of laundry during off-peak hours, and run dishwashers earlier in the day or late at night.

–City News Service