But don’t panic!

There’ll be a partial solar eclipse on July 13 2018, between 12.52pm and 13.53pm; the eclipse, which will involve the moon transiting over the top part of the sun’s disc, will be visible from Adelaide and Tasmania.

It won’t affect the solar power supply to the country though, even in the areas where the eclipse is visible, because at the height of the eclipse only around 3% of the sun’s disc will actually be obscured.

It makes you wonder, though, as Australia is becoming increasingly dependent on solar power, how we’ll cope when there’s a total solar eclipse. The last total eclipse in Oz was back in November 2012, when we weren’t quite so hot on solar.

Hold on…

Most eclipses last for just a few minutes – or at least the part of the eclipse when the sun is completely obscured does. There’s up to an hour either side of the totality when the sun starts to darken and then brighten up again as the moon moves across and it’s this whole period of time that may be causing you worry.

There’s no need to fret though, not really. Most of Australia is still using the grid for its power and even when we’ve moved mostly off-grid, many of us will be using solar storage batteries to see us through the dark.

We won’t be left in the dark

Institutions like hospitals and the emergency services won’t let a bit of darkness get to them. The US had a total eclipse in August 2017 and while many people were out celebrating, the coal and gas grid worked smoothly through plans it had formulated months beforehand. This meant that the sudden drop in solar generation – 3,400MW across the country – didn’t phase anyone.

In a future that’s going to be dominated by renewables, however, there may not be the back up from the grid for occasions like total eclipses. This is where those batteries come in to keep everyone’s lights on.