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California Smashes Solar Energy Record


California has just set a record for solar power generation, shining new light on the role renewables can play in the state’s clean energy future.

Late last Friday, grid operator California ISO (Cal-ISO) announced the state set an all-time solar record just before 1:00 pm when it registered 2,071 megawatts (MW) worth of solar electricity system-wide.

This record equaled 5% of Friday’s peak demand of 36,000 MW, was enough to power 1.5 million average California households, and is just under the 2,250MW of nuclear power removed from the state grid when the San Onofre Nuclear Generation Station was retired. Even more remarkable, Friday’s output doubled the record set in September 2012 when solar peaked at 1,000 MW total generation.


Solar Growing Fast Across California

Cal-ISO’s solar record shouldn’t come as a surprise. Nationally, California ranked first for solar energy in the Solar Energy Industries Association’s (SEIA) 2012 US Solar Market Insight Report with 1,032 MW installed in 2012, enough to power 626,000 homes. In fact, according to SEIA, if California were its own country, it would rank 7th in installed global photovoltaic capacity.

Solar’s rapid growth has been powered by stable state policy, including the California Solar Initiative (CSI), and funding for low-carbon energy sources generated by the state’s growing cap-and-trade system. CSI will install 1,940 MW of new solar capacity by the end of 2016, and $256 million has been invested in clean energy by carbon allowance auctions.

An Even Sunnier Forecast Ahead

Even though solar has helped make California the “epicenter of the US clean tech market,” the state is just scratching the surface of its solar power potential. 97% of all new electricity generation capacity scheduled to come online in California during the second half of 2013 will be solar power, and “shared renewables” legislation could allow the 75% of state’s utility customers who can’t install their own systems to subscribe to power from new solar projects across the state.

So stay tuned, because an upward trend is clear and the sun is just starting to rise on California’s solar future. “We are excited by this trend and expect to hit more record peaks on a regular basis,” said Steve Berberich, Cal-ISO President and CEO.

California Smashes Solar Record With 2 GW Generated Across State Grid was originally published on: CleanTechnica. To read more from CleanTechnica, join over 30,000 others and subscribe to our free RSS feed, follow us on Facebook (also free!), follow us on Twitter, or just visit our homepage (yep, free).

Silvio Marcacci's picture

Thank Silvio for the Post!

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Michael Berndtson's picture
Michael Berndtson on Jun 12, 2013 11:55 pm GMT

Silvio and William,

Here’s an interesting report on the topic of of peak load matching. I realize the subject of the article is solar thermal and wind, however hourly data is presented in the paper germane to William’s question to Silvio.

Improved Electrical Load Match in California by Combining Solar Thermal Power Plants with Wind Farms”

by Brian D. Vick and R. Nolan Clark of USDA and Mark Mehos of NREL

Silvio Marcacci's picture
Silvio Marcacci on Jun 13, 2013 2:41 pm GMT


Cal-ISO’s press release didn’t say how long the peak generation period lasted, only that it hit peak just before 1:00 p.m. – just around the time typical peak demand starts to hit.

Alain Verbeke's picture
Alain Verbeke on Jun 16, 2013 6:22 pm GMT

” On rare, cloudless, summer days, South Germany has near 0 MW solar output at 6 am, near 14,000 MW at around noon, and near 0 MW at 6 pm.

From about 10 am to 2 pm, what cannot be used in Germany, is exported at relatively low grid prices, after having been subsidized at 40 to 60 eurocent, to France which balances it with its hydro plants.

On overcast days in South Germany, occurring frequently, France exports energy to Germany at higher prices, because South Germany has a shortages.

France is making money on Germany’s ENERGIEWENDE. “


Willem, the grist of it is now correct, although here some corrections.

1. The PV panel subsidy is nearer 35 to 10 cents/kWh, since it is only since 2009 that the bulk of installations have been built in Germany.

2. neighboring countries are happy to receive subsidized electricity from Germany, sold below market prices. Where I live, in Belgium, we have a own electricity production capacity deficit nearing 20%. We are glad to import cheap clean German electricity, paying far lower prices than the ones we would pay building our own coal or natural gas fuel plants, since we have to import 100% of our fossil fuels from abroad.

3. France will “soon” become a net electricity importer too, because their numerous nuclear power plants are facing age syndroms, and the French government has no funds to pay for another batch of new ones. The private sector has no stomach for an investment which will be paid off 30 years after the first shovel in the ground, 10 years construction time, and 20 years of 24/7 guaranteed power production take-off just to break even on the capex adventure.

Paul O's picture
Paul O on Jun 19, 2013 5:28 am GMT

Solar Power IS a religion, environmentalists are it’s Bishops.  California happens to has a lot of converts in its government, and Brother Silovio is just spreading The Word.

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