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Experts weigh in on how eclipse will impact Indiana's solar energy

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Posted at 9:57 PM, Apr 03, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-03 23:15:27-04

INDIANAPOLIS — The countdown is on as we get closer to witnessing the total solar eclipse.

As anticipation for the time in totality builds, there are concerns over solar power.

Reports being published nationwide point to concerns over the power grids charged by solar energy. The worry is how the eclipse could cause service interruptions.

WRTV’s Amber Grigley found out from experts how big that concern is for Indiana come Monday afternoon.

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"The amount of solar energy in Indiana is relatively small," Professor Muhammad Ashraful Alam, an Electrical Computer Engineering at Purdue University, said.

Alam has spent years studying solar cells.

"This is a technology I’m deeply interested in, in terms of global implications, as well as the technology and the evolution of the technology," Alam said.

So, the total solar eclipse on Monday, April 8, will be like his Super Bowl.

"The first time I saw it, I think was 1978 or so. I was in high school, in a rural area in Bangladesh," Alam said.

Amber reached out to Alam to see just how the eclipse will impact the Hoosier state's solar energy.

He said our system is quite resilient, but it will take a slight dip. And come Monday, he said it all boils down to having perfect timing.

"That rate reduction is of the real concern. That's what the grid operators, that's what they worry about that if the changes too quickly," Alam said.

Alam said those who will feel that dip in reduction are solar energy homeowners. He said during the time of the eclipse, you may want to unplug electronics.

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"It may be better to play it safe. Maybe disconnect for half an hour, you're not getting much energy during that time anyway, and probably have backup battery system, so that even if there's an issue, they can cover the period," Alam said.

Alam tells WRTV that the weather isn't a big factor. However, solar panels will receive great benefits on a windier day to increase energy production.