How the solar eclipse affected our solar energy - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

How the solar eclipse affected our solar energy

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KENNEWICK, WA - A day later, the total solar eclipse is still the talk of the town. And as unbelievable as it was, it did cause some disruptions here on Earth, like monumental traffic jams and a shortage of gas across our region. But also something else you might not expect: power.

"With solar, we need the sunlight, and you need the intense sunlight to better generate the power needed to serve the homes with this technology," said James Dykes, solar connections program manager with Benton PUD. "When the sun is being blocked by the moon, you're not getting any generation from these panels."

Dykes says he was excited about the eclipse because it's a great opportunity to spark a conversation about renewable energy resources.

"So we're about 80 percent hydro here at Benton PUD; we also have about 9 percent nuclear, some wind as well and then a little bit of natural gas," said Dykes. "All in all it makes up about 90 percent of carbon-free resources."

Those carbon-free resources are the reason why our region didn't have to worry too much about compensating for the loss of solar power...but the loss of sunlight certainly didn't go unnoticed.

"We saw a significant dip in the generation here at our resources because of the solar eclipse that happened."

However, unlike California - a huge solar panel state - we didn't have to rely on natural gas and thermal resources to compensate for the lack of solar power.

"So as these variable resources like wind and solar go up and down, our hydro generation is going up and down with the loads to manage that so that there is no interruption of power," said Dykes.

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