Solar power is in the news every day. From power plant construction to solar powered smart windows, solar powered benches for mobile phone charging and more. In two weeks’ time, however, solar power comes into focus in a different way – a total solar eclipse!
On 21 August 2017 there will be a total solar eclipse across the United States of America. It will be seen in 14 States starting near Lincoln City, Oregon where the shadow will touch land at about 10:15 in the morning and bring darkness lasting 1 minute 50 seconds. As it passes across the USA, the maximum eclipse of 2 minutes 40 seconds will take place 90 miles NW of Nashville (co-ordinates) and it will finish near Charleston, South Carolina.
The last time a transcontinental, total eclipse of the sun passed from coast to coast in the USA was 99 years ago, so it comes as no surprise that in many of the locations where they expect to see a 100% solar eclipse, they are planning a host of festivities.
For example, in Columbia, South Carolina, people will be able to see the longest total solar eclipse for a metro area anywhere on the East Coast of the United States – up to 2 minutes 36 seconds. Over the 4 days between August 18 and 21, the city is staging ‘Total Eclipse Weekend Columbia’ with over 100 eclipse-related festivals and events.
Many events will be in downtown Columbia and within a short distance of the South Carolina State House in front of which stands this wonderful statue of George Washington.
Our Technical Director Andy Moon took this photograph whilst visiting clients in South Carolina. It’s interesting to note how Washington’s gaze seems to be towards the sky – he’s certainly going to be in prime position to see the eclipse!
Amongst the Total Eclipse events in the area is this one, just around the corner from the County State House – an Italian restaurant where, over the 4 days, there will be some special additions to the menu including Blue Moon Beer, Half Moon Ravioli and Over The Moon desserts! You can read more here.
On a more serious note, anyone expecting to witness the eclipse should prepare in advance to ensure they enjoy it safely. NASA has been sharing information on this once in a century phenomenon for some time now. Here are two key NASA resources on the subject:
- Preparing for the total eclipse
- Total Eclipse Primer (video) with tips on how best to safely enjoy the experience
Solar Power Energy Concerns
Some people have raised concerns as to whether solar power energy plants in the USA will be adversely affected. They need not worry. The total solar eclipse of March 2015 in Europe caused a slight decrease in solar plant power but it was entirely manageable. In the USA it is predicted that only minor impacts will occur with no adverse effect.
Solar Powered Perimeter Security
Our electric security fence and perimeter detection systems are installed at various sites where solar power is their source of energy. A total solar eclipse has no adverse effect on them; when the shadow hits the solar panels, the backup battery takes over. A few minutes later, when the sun is out again, the solar panels continue with their invaluable work 🙂
If you are lucky enough to be in one of the 14 States where this total eclipse will be seen, read the information on the NASA links, check out the list of ‘total eclipse viewing events’ here (Wikipedia), then relax and enjoy it!