Britain heading for near total solar eclipse

Britain’s most complete solar eclipse in 16 years will block out as much as 90 percent of sunlight across parts of the UK and Europe next month.

The moon will pass in front of the sun on Friday, March 20, casting a large shadow over the Earth.

The partial eclipse will last for around two hours and will be visible across Europe.

It is expected to affect energy supplies due to an increasing reliance on solar power. Energy experts warned of possible blackouts.

The European Network Transmission System Operators for Electricity said: “The risk of incident cannot be completely ruled out. Solar eclipses have happened before but with the increase of installed photovoltaic energy generation, the risk of an incident could be serious without appropriate countermeasures.”

Since 1999, the use of solar power in Europe as a proportion of all renewables has risen from 0.1 percent to 10.5 percent.

When an almost total solar eclipse casts an umbra on northern Europe, it may face an unprecedented test of its electricity grid due to the massive development of solar power production.

The warning comes from the French power grid RTE, which said Friday that Europe must be prepared for the event.

“The passage of this shadow will considerably reduce photovoltaic power production,” Dominique Maillard, the head of RTE, told reporters during its winter outlook presentation, as cited by Reuters. “According to our calculations, the impact could be a drop in production of as much as 30,000 megawatts across Europe, it’s the equivalent of a six degrees Celsius drop in temperatures in half an hour.”

In northern Scotland, more than 95 percent of the sun will be covered by the moon, while in London and the UK’s South East 85 percent will be obscured.