Shining a light on solar power as the sun takes a break

General Electric
Tags: energy management

The total eclipse of the sun on July 22 lasted a whopping 6 minutes and 39 seconds — a duration that won’t be repeated again until 2132. Millions of people around the world lucky enough to be in the eclipse’s narrow band caught a majestic glimpse of history — including GE’s Bipin Saxena, who took these three photos from his apartment terrace in India.

Marvelous morning for a moondance: “The eclipse became visible at sunrise today local time in Taregna, a village in eastern India, and moved across a 155-mile-wide ribbon of Asia, including areas of Nepal, Bangladesh, China and part of the Pacific,” ABC News reported. Photo: Bipin Saxena.

Getting mooned: The local press in New Delhi, India reported that “thousands of skywatchers burst into an applause as darkness descended soon after sunrise.” Photo: Bipin Saxena.

I’ll catch the next one — not! Scientists say it won’t be until June 13, 2132, that another total eclipse of this duration happens. Photo: Bipin Saxena.

Location, location, location.: The total eclipse is shown in the dark blue band. After leaving mainland Asia, the path crosses Japan’s Ryukyu Islands and curves southeast through the Pacific Ocean. The light blue grid lines show the much broader path where a partial eclipse was seen in most of eastern Asia, Indonesia, and the Pacific Ocean. Illustration: NASA.

With sunshine (or a brief lack of it) in mind, we thought it would be a good time to reflect on just what solar power can do. For example, a typical 75,000-square-foot “Big Box” retail store in the mid-Pacific U.S., covered with GE’s 200-watt solar electric modules, would have the capacity to generate more than 1,100,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity annually. That could power approximately 100 U.S. homes for a year and could avoid the emissions of over 670 metric tons of CO2 — which is equivalent to the annual CO2 emissions of approximately 130 cars on U.S. roads.

As GE’s founder Thomas Edison famously said: “We should be using nature’s inexhaustible sources of energy — sun, wind and tide. … I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don’t have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that.”

* Visit NASA’s eclipse site
* Watch amateur and news videos of the eclipse
* Learn more about GE’s solar technologies
* Learn about the benefits of solar on our ecomagination site
* Read GE Reports’ coverage of a recent solar conference

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