Us Vs. Them

I was out cruising on the Shadow ACE the other day and decided to detour through the solar farm district. I had suspected that Next Era would be building some more solar production on one road and, sure enough, they were. A few hundred more acres were having mounting posts pounded in and panels will soon follow. Florida Power and Light (FPL) is serious about their solar.

I went on down the road to the main farm and distribution area and had to smile as I road through hundreds of acres and hundreds of thousands of panels coated with a heavy layer of yellow pine pollen.  I think it is going to take those guys a bit longer to clean theirs than it will for me to clean mine!  Anyway, it is nice to know we are all in this together.

Now, you may have heard that we have this solar eclipse coming up.  It won’t go black, here.  We’ll be in a “gray” area, so to speak.  Grid operators will be crossing their fingers and preparing for a wild ride as all these photovoltaic megawatts the country is now depending on just suddenly peter out.  There will be a mad rush to shovel in more coal, turn up the gas and spool up the auxiliary turbines to keep the grid running.  One slip up and the whole system could trip!  Then, when the sun comes peeking out again, they’ll have to back off on spinning sources and ease the sun power back in.  Meanwhile, they will have lost some serious mega- or even tera-watts of sunshine.

What about our home solar systems?  No worries, mate.  If your system is purely grid tie, your panels will quit supplying power to the grid, just like the big solar farms, but the grid will keep your lights on…if the grid makers don’t mess up.  If you are off-grid or have a hybrid system, when the sun goes dark the charge current to your batteries will go away until the sunshine returns.  Your power will stay on with the batteries, just like at night.

So, all this kind of makes me think the power companies need to buy a few batteries.


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