GREENSBORO, N.C. - Duke Energy is working hard to make sure your lights stay on during the upcoming eclipse. The company says if they did nothing at all to prepare, then up to 250,000 homes could loose power because of the blow to solar energy. That's like the lights going dark in all of Greensboro.
Here's why it's a bigger deal than say a cloudy day where the sun's not shinning anyway. If there's a storm, that's usually regional meaning it only blocks out the sun in part of the state, so Duke Energy can pull from solar panels elsewhere. But the eclipse casts a shadow over the entire system.
Okay, but it's still dark at night and we don't loose power? Duke says it's carefully budgeted energy in our state for the full amount of daylight and we need every minute of sunshine to make it work. That's why they've assigned a special team to come up with solutions.
"We've done a lot of studying from previous eclipses and learned some lessons from one in Europe that you have to be prepared and have the reserve energy ready to go," said Randy Wheeless, Duke Energy spokesman.
Duke is planning on having it's hydroelectric and natural gas plants ready to crank up extra energy, so Wheeless says customers shouldn't even notice a difference.