Solar power helps New England hit historic milestone

  • Power demand from the grid was lower at 3:30 a.m. on April 21 than it was at 1:30 p.m., when solar panels took up much of the slack. —ISO-NE

Monitor staff
Published: 5/4/2018 11:42:07 PM

Mild weather and rooftop solar power have created a first-ever situation on New England’s electric grid: On Saturday, April 21, there was less power used in the middle of the day than in the middle of the night.

“We were expecting this to happen at some point as more behind-the-meter solar gets installed in New England and the weather conditions were just right. While this kind of dip in demand is new for New England, it’s a common occurrence in California,” said Mike Knowland, Forecast and Scheduling Supervisor for ISO-New England, the group that oversees the six-state power grid.

At 1:30 p.m. on April 21, according to ISO-NE, the grid had to supply slightly less than 10,000 megawatts of electricity, while another 2,300 megawatts was being provided by solar panels on roofs around the region – the most solar production ever in New England.

By contrast, at about 3:30 a.m. that morning, when no solar power was available, demand had dipped to its overnight low of slightly more than 10,000 MW – higher than the midday low. 

This inversion from historic patterns may become common, ISO-NE said, because it expects the amount of behind-the-meter solar power – that is, panels that don’t send power into the grid but are used locally, serving to reduce demand on the grid – to more than double to 5,800 megawatts by 2027. “The ISO anticipates more occasions when demand may dip extremely low, particularly during the spring and fall …. Demand is typically low already during those seasons, and conditions are ripe for high solar output.”

David Brooks bio photo

David Brooks is a reporter and the writer of the sci/tech column Granite Geek and blog, as well as moderator of Science Cafe Concord events. After obtaining a bachelor’s degree in mathematics he became a newspaperman, working in Virginia and Tennessee before spending 28 years at the Nashua Telegraph . He joined the Monitor in 2015.

Stay informed with our free email updates
Concord Monitor Daily Headlines
Concord Monitor Breaking News
Concord Monitor Dining & Entertainment
Concord Monitor Report For America Education
Concord Monitor Report For America Health
Concord Monitor Real Estate
Concord Monitor Sports
Concord Monitor Suncook Valley
Concord Monitor Contests & Promotions
Concord Monitor Weekly Most Popular
Concord Monitor Granite Geek
Concord Monitor Monitor Marquee
Concord Monitor Hopkinton
Concord Monitor Politics
Concord Monitor MY CONCORD
Concord Monitor Franklin


Support Local Journalism

Subscribe to the Concord Monitor, recently named the best paper of its size in New England.

Concord Monitor Office

1 Monitor Drive
Concord,NH 03301


© 2021 Concord Monitor
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy

Customer Service

Social Media


View All Sections

Part of the Newspapers of New England Family