Solar eclipse will test Germany’s green power grid


Eclipse will cause a sudden drop and then a surge in solar-generated power

The Associated Press Posted: Mar 13, 2015 3:11 PM ET Last Updated: Mar 13, 2015 3:11 PM ET

Will next week’s partial solar eclipse turn off the lights in Germany?

Experts say the eclipse on the morning of March 20 will be a good test of the country’s electricity grid, which relies increasingly on renewable energy.

The partial eclipse will cause a sudden drop and then a surge in solar-generated power, which contributed almost six per cent to Germany’s energy mix last year.

Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems said Friday it ran simulations showing that conventional power plants and hydroelectricity pump-storage facilities should cushion the impact of the eclipse. Scientists found that the strain on the grid would be greatest on a sunny day.

The eclipse will help grid operators plan for the next comparable event in 2026, when Germany expects to have shuttered its nuclear plants.

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