The Great American Solar Eclipse could have minor impacts on sol -, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

The Great American Solar Eclipse could have minor impacts on solar power usage

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - The "Great American Eclipse" will almost completely shut out the sun. This could affect hundreds of homes across our area that rely on the sun for power.

While millions with glasses look up at the sky to safely watch the eclipse, solar specialist Tom Ferraro will be keeping his eye on his customers’ solar power meters.

"When it comes across South Carolina, it's kinda equivalent to a Thunderstorm. So what's going to happen is, it's going to get dark and the solar power will be reduced just like a cloud going over."

Ferraro estimates the company he works for – Carolina Energy Conservation - has installed over 200 solar power units across the state, with nearly two to three dozen in the path of totality. 

"It'll be interesting to see the amount of effect is has on individual systems and everyone with solar has a monitoring system so they will see their power going up during the day, hopefully it's nice, and when the eclipse hits, it'll drop down as if a cloud is going over and slowly come back up."

So will this affect a solar power homeowner's electric bill this month? 

"The answer is no. It's not going to be material. If you go into totality and let's say your system runs at 20% capacity for an hour, it may cost you a dollar. It's not material. The savings are over a long period of time so there's no big shot in the arm that's gonna be hurting anybody."

The last Total Solar eclipse seen in the US was nearly 40 years ago in 1979, when solar power wasn't even a player in the energy industry yet. 

This means the Great American solar eclipse will be the first experiment of a solar eclipse's effect on solar power. Ferraro is looking forward to seeing the data and results. 

"We have customers up and down the east coast of South Carolina. The ones down in the Georgetown and Charleston area will be in totality in its entirety and of course Horry County and down Beaufort county won't. So that's going to be interesting to see the differences, again if the weather cooperates, of what's happening with each system. Again we are excited about looking at that."

Expect the moon to start crossing the sun from a little after 1 PM to just after 4 PM on Monday August 21st with totality around 2:45 PM.

To check out our complete local coverage of the Great American Eclipse so far, click on the Solar Eclipse section of WMBF news dot com UNDER THE WEB CAM. 

And set your DVRs for our 1 hour special Eclipse show starting at 2 PM Monday August 21st as our First Alert Weather team reports on the eclipse from all across our area. 


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