On 20th March there was a solar eclipse, visible to a greater or lesser extent in all European countries (and in the north of Africa as well as in the north and west of Asia and the Middle East). Before this event, those responsible for the European power network spent months preparing to implement the necessary measures so that the populace and companies would not suffer the effects of this astronomical phenomenon, as the power supply across the continent is interconnected. The media in all these countries warned of potentially serious consequences for a large part of the continent, indicating that the eclipse would put the European electricity system to the test. Why was there such alarm?
In today’s world, renewable energies—mainly solar and wind power—have a not insignificant weight in global energy production. Photovoltaic generation, for example, accounts for 3% of Europe’s total energy consumption. Meanwhile, although wind power accounts for less energy production, it too depends on solar radiation to function properly. When there is a solar eclipse, the sudden absence of sunlight over the affected countries in turn causes an abrupt reduction in their photovoltaic energy production. To have some idea of what this means, suffice to say that the energy which could cease to be produced by the photovoltaic sources in Europe for 1 minute is the equivalent of the production generated by a nuclear power plant for the same period of time.
Bearing in mind that to avoid a collapse in the network, production and energy consumption must be in constant balance, when there is a solar eclipse, the electricity network must be able to guarantee that the photovoltaic energy deficit is correctly and instantly compensated for by other production sources. This equilibrium must be maintained while the sun is hidden and the power supplies readjusted once the phenomenon ends. Otherwise, there could be partial or total power cuts, which would affect millions of people and companies, especially as the networks are interconnected.
Music video recorded during the total solar eclipse at Kvívík on the Faroe Islands on 20th March.
An anomaly in the regulation of this balance would also have unfortunate consequences for all the organisations in which a fully functioning power supply is of vital importance. For example, hospitals, fire stations, data centres, the telephone systems used to make emergency calls, airports, etc. As we have mentioned, the dual challenge presented by a solar eclipse is to have alternative energy supply sources available and to regulate the supply perfectly from the beginning of the astronomical phenomenon until it ends.
While generator sets do not have the capacity to counteract a possible collapse in electricity supplies at a global or continental level, they are extremely important in compensating for power cuts locally, preventing significant financial losses and saving human lives. By installing them in all the companies and organisations which cannot afford a possible power failure, they guarantee a continuous supply of electricity. Inmesol’s emergency generator sets start working automatically in a matter of seconds in these cases.
At Inmesol we have a wide range of emergency generator sets, designed to give solutions to all types of businesses, whatever their power supply needs and wherever they are located.