How the Solar Eclipse Will Impact Your Solar Panels

The next total solar eclipse is slated to darken the skies of North America next month and it could have a temporary impact on solar panels.

There are just a few weeks left before the next total solar eclipse blacks out the skies of North America. The path of totality originates in Mexico’s Pacific coast and then moves diagonally across the United States crossing from Texas on through to Maine before exiting through the eastern part of Canada.


The 115-mile-wide path of totality will completely darken the skies for millions of Americans that live along this “path” for a few brief minutes. Those not in the “path of totality” will also be able to witness a partial solar eclipse as the scientific novelty unfolds on April 8th.


The skies going dark during the middle of the day is a wonder to behold. It will also be interesting for solar panel owners to see the effects totality could potentially have on their solar system’s electricity production. Since solar panels rely entirely on sunlight to produce electricity, there will be temporary effects.

Eclipse Factors to Consider

When a solar eclipse takes place, the moon will pass between the Earth and the sun which will either entirely or partially block the sun’s lights from reaching the Earth’s surface. The impact this passing will have on solar panels will vary depending on a few factors:

  1. Degree of the eclipse
  2. Geographical location of the solar panels
  3. Time of day when eclipse takes place

Solar panels that are located within the path of totality will likely experience bigger dips in production than those in partial eclipse locations.


Effect on Solar Panels

While there will not be any long-term damage or permanent effects on solar panels as a result of the solar eclipse, it is interesting to note what impact it can have as the phenomenon unfolds. Solar panel owners may experience the following effects:

Power Output Reduction:

Since the amount of sunlight reaching the solar panels is reduced, there will likely be a decrease in electricity production. Again this will vary depending on the extent of the eclipse. Some solar panels may experience a significant drop in production, potentially reaching near-zero output during the peak of the eclipse.

Duration of Impact:

The amount of time this impact has on solar panels will also depend on the duration of the eclipse and the speed at which the moon moves across the sun. Typically, the impact is temporary, lasting for the duration of the eclipse, which can range from a few minutes to a couple of hours, depending on factors such as the eclipse’s path and timing.

Precautions for Grid Stability:

Utilities and grid operators may take precautions to ensure grid stability during a solar eclipse, as the sudden reduction in solar power generation followed by a rapid increase as the eclipse passes can pose challenges for grid management. They may rely on other sources of electricity generation, such as fossil fuels or stored energy from batteries, to compensate for the temporary loss of solar power.

Impact on Solar Tracking Systems:

Solar tracking systems, which adjust the orientation of solar panels to maximize sunlight exposure throughout the day, may be affected during a solar eclipse. These systems may need to recalibrate or adjust their positions to account for the change in sunlight direction during the eclipse.


With total solar eclipses only taking place two to three times every three years, it is a novelty to watch and interesting to examine its impacts for a brief period of time. Solar users that are gearing up to view the solar eclipse might also want to check what impact, if any, the eclipse ends up having on overall energy production for the day. After all, it will be those in America’s last chance to do so until 2033!