Thanksgiving Power Grid Peaks Reduced By Solar Power

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In 2018, ISO New England, a non-profit that helps provide electricity across the region reported that the overall power grid demand that usually peaks on Thanksgiving morning had decreased thanks to an increase of solar power in the region.

Power use peaks on Thanksgiving morning with levels on par with normal weekend use. Power grids across the United States show that levels increase more on weekends when people are most likely to be at home versus on workdays. Thanksgiving Day power levels peak from 9:00 am to noon, while the peak for non-holiday workdays is 7 am to 9am. Last year, New England experienced the lowest levels of power used on Thanksgiving morning since 2000.  Almost all the solar power in the New England region is locally generated or installed directly on the site of a business or home. This distributed solar power uses less electricity from local power systems. Only 2,700 MW of solar power sold in New England is from wholesale marketplaces.

On Thanksgiving 2018, the power in the region’s 150,000 solar installations replaced the demand for electricity. 

Last year, New England experienced extreme cold weather similar to what the region experiences in January. Even with the extreme cold, the region was still able to decrease the total power usage, showing that solar does have an impact.