Solar Eclipse to Strain Riverside Public Utilities’ Solar Generation

Published: 08/16/2017

Robbie Silver
Public Information Coordinator

Riverside Energy Resource Center to make up the Difference

Riverside, Calif. – As a result of the upcoming solar eclipse on Monday, August 21, 2017, Riverside Public Utilities (RPU) expects to lose about half the generation from the Tequesquite Solar Facility near Mt. Rubidoux and the same proportion from the City of Riverside’s hundreds of homes with rooftop solar systems.

Southern California will experience approximately 65% solar obscurity for about three hours (9 a.m. to Noon). The partial solar eclipse should not impact daily activities for residents. The California Independent System Operator (CAISO) began conducting market simulations using natural gas and hydroelectric plans to mitigate the loss of solar generation during the eclipse. As solar power production declines that morning, the CAISO forecasts it will need to dispatch about 6,000 megawatts (MW) of power from alternative sources. As rooftop solar declines, the ISO expects electricity demand will increase 1,400 MWs during the eclipse as homes/businesses rely on the grid.

“Although the solar generation capacity from the Tequesquite plant is 7.5 MW, the average generation is approximately 4-5 MW from 9 a.m. to Noon. Rooftop solar in Riverside territory is approximately 20 MW. RPU will use Riverside Energy Resource Center (RERC), a natural gas peaking plant (200 MW), to make up for the difference from the loss of approximately 13 MW from Tequesquite and rooftop solar,” says Daniel Garcia, Assistant General Manager Power Resources.

“RPU expects no operational issues during the upcoming eclipse. RPU customers are encouraged to conserve energy as much as possible to avoid additional strain on the State’s grid,” says Robbie Silver, Public Information Coordinator.