European transmission system operators (TSOs) successfully managed to balance the region’s power network during March’s solar eclipse in spite of the challenges posed by the event, reports transmission system operators’ organisation ENTSO-E.

The eclipse, which occurred between 10:30am and 12:00pm on 19 March, led to fast variations in solar generation and also made demand hard to predict. Meticulous preparation and strong regional and European cooperation meant that the lights stayed on, said ENTSO-E in a statement.

Europe’s TSOs had to cover the unusually fast loss and even faster reintegration of an estimated 25 GW of solar generation. The effects were felt most in southern Germany and northern Italy because of their high levels of installed solar capacity and the fact that the sun was shining on the morning of the eclipse.

In Germany, solar generation was exceeding normal seasonal levels on 19 March because of the sunny weather. The country’s TSOs managed "very smoothly" the high and fast variations of 39 GW of installed solar generation by relying on power reserves at a national and regional level.

In Italy TSOs and distribution network operators (DNOs) decided to take the equivalent of 5 GW of PV capacity out of the system temporarily.

TSOs across Europe doubled staff levels in control rooms and also ensured that control rooms were in continuous communication.

Sian Crampsie