Akhlak Ahmed shares the impact that the October 14, 2023 solar eclipse will have on electricity supply & demand, and how Innowatts’ Load Forecasts are ready to deliver for our customers.
Houston, TX, USA
October 6 2023
On Saturday October 14th, an annular solar eclipse will pass directly through the US states of Oregon, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico and Texas, as well as some parts of California, Idaho, Colorado, and Arizona.
In Texas residents in the cities of Odessa, San Antonio, and Corpus Christi, will experience near full obscuration of the Sun of up to 90.24%! Meanwhile, most other cities across Texas will experience almost 80% obscurity.
Based on NASA’s data, in San Antonio the partial eclipse will start at 10:23 CDT and end at 13:33 CDT.
So, what does this mean for electricity supply and demand?
This phenomenon obviously will have a significant impact on utility scale solar generation as well as on residential and industrial rooftop solar generation output.
However, not only will there be a fall in generation output but there will also be an increase in demand.
Currently, solar provides almost 15% of generation in the Texas ERCOT electricity market. This equates to almost 9,000MW, equivalent to the demands of approximately 4 million Texan homes, where solar generation will be off-line to varying degrees during the solar eclipse.
In addition, the wild swing of solar generation falling offline and coming back online is particularly significant during the ramp-in and ramp-out of the eclipse.
The weather forecast for Saturday October 14th currently indicates that the clear sky index will be around 20%.
Innowatts’ industry leading AI and ML models are projecting that a Retail Energy Provider who has 10,000 customers with rooftop solar in its portfolio will experience an approximate 30MW shortfall in generation at 80% cloud cover.
This of course means that these customers will now create an approximate 30 MW of additional demand for electricity from the grid which they would not typically do on a regular day.
As outlined, the Innowatts Platform can predict the impact of this unique event and provide adjusted load forecasts for our customers to enable them to prepare for this event, so while the Sun will go out the lights will stay on.
If you are in Texas on Saturday the 14th hopefully you’ll get a chance to enjoy the show!
– Akhlak Ahmed Co-founder & Chief Analytics Officer, Innowatts
Innowatts is the leading energy data SaaS platform that utilizes best-in-class artificial intelligence to help electricity providers unlock grid edge opportunities, increase customer value, and accelerate the energy transition by leveraging insights from more than 53 million meters globally. Outcomes enable users to analyze multiple data sets, gaining a better understanding of their carbon footprint and intensity for each site. The Innowatts platform delivers real-time, customer-centric energy analytics with unprecedented accuracy. With clients and operations across the Americas, Europe, and Asia, Innowatts is a global leader, enabling energy providers to become truly customer-focused and fully leverage the power of data to transform their businesses.