Solar Eclipse Rush Hour

During the August 21, 2017 eclipse, solar energy production dropped because less light was reaching solar panels. By opting into Nest’s Solar Eclipse Rush Hour, Google Nest thermostat owners automatically decreased the amount of energy used during the eclipse to help our energy system.

Please note, this one-time energy event has concluded. Thank you to all Nest thermostat owners who participated.

Although the Nest Solar Eclipse Rush Hour is done, we’re keeping this article visible so you can learn more about the program and how it worked.

Here’s a short video explaining how Nest Thermostat makes it easy for owners to join our Solar Eclipse Rush Hour:

Nest's first Solar Eclipse Rush Hour.

 

You can also check out this blog post from Nest:

Solar eclipse, meet the Nest Thermostat >

Why solar energy production will drop during the eclipse

During a solar eclipse the moon passes in front of the sun and casts a shadow on the earth. How you experience an eclipse depends on where you live. Most people will experience a partial eclipse, where a crescent shape of the sun is still visible during the eclipse. To see a total eclipse, where the sun is completely blocked out by the moon, you’ll need to live in the right area to have the you, the sun, and the moon aligned just right.

Important: Never directly observe the sun, even during an eclipse, without appropriate protective eyewear.

Shadow from an eclipse traveling across the USA

Solar panels work by absorbing energy from the sun and turning it into electricity. Since all or part of the sun’s rays will be blocked for up to three hours during the eclipse, not as much sunlight will reach the solar panels. With less sunlight, they won’t be able to produce as much energy.

In order to keep up with demand, power companies will need to turn to other methods of generating power. This can include oil, gas, or other fossil fuels. The less energy everyone uses during a peak period, the less impact on the grid. Even a small adjustment to your thermostat can make a big difference if everybody participates.

How to tell if you're eligible for the Solar Eclipse Rush Hour

You’re eligible to join in Nest’s Solar Eclipse Rush Hour if:

  • You have a Nest thermostat that’s connected to Wi-Fi and has already been added to the Nest app
  • Your thermostat is connected to a cooling system
  • Your thermostat is installed in the continental United States (where the eclipse will occur). This is based on the zip code you provided when you set up your thermostat for the first time.
  • Your thermostat has the latest software, which is automatically installed.

Note: If you’re already enrolled in an energy program such as Rush Hour Rewards or Seasonal Savings you won’t see a Solar Eclipse Rush Hour message on your thermostat. Your thermostat might automatically help shift energy demand during the eclipse anyway, depending on your energy provider.

In addition, Nest wants to be able to assess the impact of this historic event, so a few eligible thermostats won’t receive the message about Nest’s Solar Eclipse Rush Hour. If your thermostat is in this “control group,” you won’t see the option to participate. But during the eclipse you can still turn up the temperature on your thermostat manually to use less energy for cooling.

How to participate in Nest's Solar Eclipse Rush Hour

By automatically changing the temperature in your home by just a few degrees, your Nest Thermostat can help reduce energy use during the eclipse.

Starting August 19, you may see a message on your thermostat asking if you’d like to join Nest’s Solar Eclipse Rush Hour. To participate, all you need to do is opt-in right from your thermostat. If you don’t opt in your thermostat will not participate in the Solar Eclipse Rush Hour.

Once you make a selection on your thermostat, you can’t go back and change your choice. However:

  • You’ll always be able to control the temperature. You can do this at any time by simply turning your thermostat’s ring. You’ll see a message on your thermostat asking if you’d like to change the temperature. You may need to scroll down to accept. After you select change temp you’ll be able to change the temperature normally.
  • Even if you didn’t opt in to the Solar Eclipse Rush Hour, you can still help reduce energy demand on your own: simply turn up the temperature on your thermostat manually to use less cooling during the eclipse.

What will happen during Nest's Solar Eclipse Rush Hour

If you opt in, your thermostat will automatically pre-cool your home before the eclipse starts (up to 1 hour) just like during a Rush Hour event. Then, once the eclipse has started, your thermostat will turn up the temperature by just a few degrees until after the peak of the eclipse has passed your region (up to 3 hours).

These small changes can help keep you comfortable and help make a big impact on energy consumption during the eclipse. After the eclipse is over, your thermostat will return to cooling your home normally.

Learn about Nest's ongoing energy programs

Enrolling in the one-time Solar Eclipse Rush Hour will not automatically enroll you in our more comprehensive Rush Hour Rewards program. You're just signing up to help reduce energy use during the eclipse.

But now that you’ve seen how it works, you might want to learn more about enrolling in Rush Hour Rewards or taking advantage of any of the other energy rewards and rebates available for your location. Follow this link to learn more:

Learn more about energy rewards and rebates >

How to stop participating in the Solar Eclipse Rush Hour

Even during Nest’s Solar Eclipse Rush Hour, you can
manually change the temperature on your thermostat
if you want your home to be cooler. Keep in mind that
if you turn the temperature down, your thermostat will
return to cooling normally and you will no longer be
participating in the Solar Eclipse Rush Hour event.

You can adjust the temperature at any time by turning
your thermostat’s ring. You’ll see a message on your
thermostat asking if you’d like to change the temperature,
you may need to scroll down to accept. After you select change temp you’ll be able to change the temperature normally.

Animated hand turning the temperature up on Nest thermostat

 

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