Tomorrow, a solar eclipse will pass through the northern part of Canada, Greenland and Russia and will cast a shadow on the majority of countries in Europe between 10:10 and 13:45 CEST. The obscuration, that is the reduction of solar power radiation, should be up to 23% in Continental Europe.
The installed capacity of solar photovoltaic in Continental Europe is around 138 GW. This is a substantial increase compared to the installed capacity of approximately 87 GW in 2015, when the last solar eclipse affecting Continental Europe took place. However, this year’s eclipse should not be as challenging for TSOs due to the lower obscuration.
In 2015, even if the solar photovoltaic installed capacity was lower, the high level of obscuration caused a series of challenges which required preparation and coordination from European TSOs as outlined in a joint ENTSO-E/Solar Power Europe report published after the event.
Even if less challenging, European TSOs nevertheless had to carry out careful preparations for tomorrow’s solar eclipse to ensure continued security of supply. Dedicated task forces were set up to analyze the impact of the solar eclipse, discuss and prepare individual measures, such as for example contracting additional reserves, increasing staff in the control rooms and raising awareness of market parties.
The next solar eclipse will take place on 25 October 2022.
It should have more impact in terms of obscuration on Continental Europe and one can expect the solar photovoltaic installed capacity to have further increased. TSOs will use lessons learnt during tomorrow’s solar eclipse and as well during the 2015 eclipse to carefully prepare for 25 October 2022.