LOS ANGELES — The solar eclipse Aug. 21 is a credit positive for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power because it will provide insight into renewable energy management, Moody’s Investors Service said.
The solar eclipse will provide a real-time training exercise giving LADWP “critical insight into handling major energy swings that result from solar energy becoming a more significant source of energy on the grid,” Moody’s analysts wrote in a report Wednesday.
The total eclipse - in which the moon completely blocks the face of the sun - will be experienced across a wide swath of the United States. The effect will begin in the northwest and end in the Carolinas – taking one hour and 33 minutes to move across the country. The effect lasts for less than three minutes at a specific location.
California won't see a total eclipse -- the event will cause a range of solar obscurity in Southern California from 69% in south San Joaquin to 62% in the Los Angeles basin, according to Moody’s.
LADWP operates about 25% of California’s transmission grid and expects to be able to handle its own loss of solar energy and help its neighboring utilities, during the eclipse, which will last roughly a minute and a half.
LADWP as well as the other California utilities are on a path to get to 50% of the energy sold to retail customers from renewable energy resources by 2025. The governor moved the target date forward to 2025 from 2030 and the utility created a plan to reach 60% renewable energy by 2036.
“A major solar eclipse will occur over a larger portion of the U.S. affecting the solar energy capability of utilities like the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and other California utilities,” analysts said.
While the percentage of solar energy to total energy is relatively small today, for LADWP to get to the 50% state renewable requirement it expects to ramp up its solar resources through new construction of large scale projects, feed-in-tariffs, net metering, and community solar over the next several years.