The Eclipse and its Interesting Effect on Power Demand in NYC

The Eclipse and its Interesting Effect on Power Demand in NYC

August 30, 2017

The solar eclipse truly was an epic event to witness. We (along with the rest of the industry) expected the output of solar energy to plunge across the grid during the event (obviously, since the sun was getting blocked).

Knowing this (and because we’re data geeks) we were interested in seeing how that would impact energy demand across NYC and were quite surprised by the results. Turns out that a city shutting down and going outside to watch the event had an impact on electricity demand across all boroughs. In New York City, the solar eclipse began at 1:23pm and ended around 4pm (ET).

Take a look at the chart below. You can see that on an average Monday there’s a steady increase in the morning and decrease begins as we move into the evening.



The light blue line shows energy consumption in NYC on Monday’s solar eclipse. This is where it gets interesting. There was actually a dip in general energy use.

What does all this mean? From 1:23pm to 4pm on eclipse day, NYC spent an estimated $1.75 million less on electricity than they would have on an average Monday. That’s about $58k less every 5 min, $11k less per minute.* And by the way, with $1.75 million, 388,915 New Yorkers could have enjoyed both a coke and a hot dog with their eclipse viewing.

We won’t have to worry about any major disruptions to energy production or consumption until another eclipse — which isn’t until 2024!

*Estimated consumption was projected based on 5min increments of the previous 12 mondays adjusted to actual demand on Eclipse Monday morning. Assumes all prices were the real-time price of electricity (reported in 5 min increments).
**MWh is a unit to measure power. It is equal to one million watts.