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We often talk about solar intermittency being a major challenge for wide-spread adoption of solar energy, and a major motivating factor for developing solar fuels technology. Solar intermittency is especially problematic for electric grid operators, who try to constantly balance electricity demand and supply.  Grid-scale energy storage is one solution to this problem, but currently no economical options exist except for a few places that are well-suited for pumped hydro storage.

The resiliency of Germany’s power grid – which gets the highest percentage of its electricity from solar in the world at 7% – may get a huge test this coming week when a major solar eclipse is supposed to occur.  An eclipse can cause a lot more trouble than clouds because it can suddenly affect a very large area of land, resulting in a much more rapid “turn off” and “turn on” of solar-electricity being produced.

The following article gives a more detailed description of what the eclipse means for Germany’s electric grid, and includes a nice plot of the expected solar electric output during the course of the day:

http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2015/03/solar-eclipse-germany-power

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