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The total eclipse shows us how important solar energy is to the US

A view of a crescent sun partially blocked by the moon.
View of the solar eclipse from the Dudley Observatory on Monday, August 21st, 2017, in Schenectady, New York. | Photo by Lori Van Buren / Albany Times Union via Getty Images

You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone, and the total eclipse is a stark reminder of that adage when it comes to the key role solar energy currently plays in the US.

More than 31 million people — nearly 10 percent of the population in the US — live in an area that will experience the total solar eclipse today. Millions more live near dirty power plants that could be tapped to make up for a loss of solar power.

Grid managers have had to find backup sources of energy to cope with the eclipse. It shows us how far the nation has come in cleaning up its power grid — and what we’re still in dire need of to complete that task.

All 50 states will experience some degree of…

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