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In a rare eclipse, gas will see its future as solar's backup

The first total solar eclipse visible in most of the US since 1979 will force solar operators from Oregon to South Carolina to cede market shares to fast-start natural gas generators as well as hydroelectric plants and other sources to fill the gaps as the sky darkens.

Photo: Mainstream Renewable Power

Natural gas is about to get a glimpse of its future role in the US power mix as solar energy's backup.

During the upcoming Aug. 21 eclipse, operators of giant solar fields from California to the Carolinas will cede market share to fast-start natural gas generators as well as hydroelectric plants and other sources to fill the gaps as the sky darkens. The celestial event, the first total solar eclipse visible in the lower 48 states since 1979, will provide owners of gas turbines a chance to shine even as the fossil-fuel is expected to be displaced over time by solar and wind energy.

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