News and analysis about energy in California with an eye toward renewables.

It Looks Like California Broke a Major Solar Power Record Today

Screen capture from CaISO/Flickr/Creative Commons License

California seems to have beaten another record for solar power flowing into the grid Friday, and if so it's a big one. According to preliminary data provided by the California Independent System Operator (CaISO) in graph form, shown above, the state passed the 2,000 megawatts of solar mark for the first time on June 7, 2013, with the day's peak at or a hair below 2,100 megawatts.

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As always when ReWire breaks this news before CaISO confirms it, we should note that the data is preliminary. It hasn't been reviewed by CaISO: the graph is generated by an algorithm that sometimes needs correction by an editor. And the number doesn't include most rooftop solar found throughout the state -- that's on the wrong side of the electric meter for CaISO to be able to tally. That kind of solar energy production accounted for just under 1,200 megawatts, according to the California Solar Statistics website.

Also, we here at ReWire feel the need to hold this up to some realistic perspective: Friday's total for California grid-tied solar is one-eleventh what Germany had hooked up more than a year ago. Germany's economy and infrastructure is roughly the size of California's, and our lackluster performance compared to the central European nation is especially galling considering that Germany's got about the same amount of sunshine as inland Alaska. Blame it on subsidies: Germany has enacted a robust feed-in tariff to promote solar installations, while it's like pulling teeth to get relative half-measures like net energy metering fully enacted in California.

Still, it's something, and you heard it here at ReWire first.

A photo attached to this post is by Mike Baker/Flickr/Creative Commons License


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About the Author

Chris Clarke is a natural history writer and environmental journalist currently at work on a book about the Joshua tree. He lives in Joshua Tree.
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