The two top states for solar energy bounced back from the eclipse Monday, but only after a roller coaster ride of peaks and valleys as a big chunk of solar power went dark in California and North Carolina.
The California Independent System Operator, or CAISO, oversees the grid for the biggest solar energy producer in the country. Its data showed solar rising just before the eclipse and then plummeting as darkness took hold.
David Song, spokesman for Southern California Edison, tweeted out the CAISO graph with a number of energy reporters, data enthusiasts and others watching the solar drop-off.
"Cool graph from #CAISO showing ramp-up and drop-off of solar generation as #Eclipse2017 passes through SoCal," Song tweeted. CAISO showed the solar power output in the state was nearly cut in half by the eclipse, dropping from just above 6,000 megawatts to around 3,000 MW.
"There goes the solar output," a meterologist named Shawn tweeted with real-time data released by CAISO.
The natural gas industry took credit for filling in the gap left in the grid.
"Whew! Thank goodness for always-reliable, clean-burning #natgas to cover the solar power loss," tweeted Neal Kirby, spokesman for the Independent Petroleum Association of America. Natural gas power plants are one of the only power resources in the state that can stave off a loss of power when solar output rapidly declines.
Natural gas makes up the dominant share of installed production plants at more than 50 percent. Renewables make up 29 percent of the power production capability in the state, according to CAISO. Forty-eight percent of the state's total renewable energy mix comes from solar energy.
Duke Energy, the regulated utility that runs the second-biggest solar state in the U.S., North Carolina, reported similar bumps in solar output. But it managed to get through the drop.
"Our data shows we lost about 1,700 megawatts of capacity during the height of the eclipse," said spokesman Randy Wheeless. "Given the weather conditions, we should have expected 1,808 MW of solar output during the afternoon. But at the height of the eclipse, we were getting only about 109 MW."
Duke Energy has 2,500 megawatts of solar panels connected to the grid it manages in North Carolina, making it the nation's "#2 solar state." Duke Energy is one of the largest power utilities in the country.
"We were able to balance the Duke Energy system to compensate for the loss of solar power over the eclipse period," said Sammy Roberts, the utility's director of system operations. "Our system reacted as planned, and we were able to reliably and efficiently meet the energy demands of our customers in the Carolinas."
Nuclear energy had a role in making sure the grid stayed afloat during the dip in solar capacity.
Wheeless noted that the utility company hosted an eclipse viewing party at its Oconee Nuclear Station in South Carolina, where it gave away 40,000 pairs of eclipse viewing glasses.
The power plant was in the path of 100 percent totality.