Solar Eclipse Goes Smoothly for North Carolina Utilities

On Monday, the solar eclipse was a big event for locals and tourists alike who flocked to Western North Carolina to witness dark skies in the path of totality. But thanks to advanced planning, it was a non-event for the state’s electric utilities.

Duke Energy officials said they would normally expect 1,808 MW of solar output during the afternoon, but were getting only about 109 MW during the eclipse’s peak, according to Utility Dive.

“We were able to balance the Duke Energy system to compensate for the loss of solar power over the eclipse period,” said Sammy Roberts, Duke Energy director of system operations, as quoted by Utility Dive. “Our system reacted as planned, and we were able to reliably and efficiently meet the energy demands of our customers in the Carolinas.”

Data from Central EMC’s community solar installation shows a brief dip in output during the eclipse.

North Carolina Electric Membership Corporation’s solar resources were minimally impacted by the eclipse, although small changes in consumer behavior and a brief drop in outside temperatures led to a 5-percent dip in power demand. Electric cooperatives across the state were prepared with a standby statement should members express concern about reliability.

Haywood Electric Membership Corporation’s service territory was in the path of totality, and 99.94 percent of the sun was eclipsed at its Waynesville office.

“We didn’t have any unexpected issues from members. It was a smooth event,” said Brooklyn Jamison in marketing and communications at Haywood EMC. Employees took a break to experience the eclipse outside the office. “The crickets came out and the street lights came on – it was a surreal experience!”

Haywood EMC employees viewing the eclipse.