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

February is a Month of More and More Broken Solar Records in California

California reached around 1,450 megawatts of solar on Feb 22 | Screen capture via California Independent System Operator

ReWire reported sixteen days ago, on February 6, that California had broken another solar power record, with the amount of solar electricity feeding into the California Independent System Operator's grid just edging over 1,300 megawatts. We've set a record again as of Friday, it seems. But honestly, setting solar records in California is getting just a little bit commonplace this month: so far in February, the Golden State has broken six all-time solar records.

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Once CaISO crunched the numbers on that February 6 record, it turned out to stand at 1,316 megawatts of solar. Four days later on Sunday Feb. 10, we broke that surprising record with a new one, at 1,340 megawatts. On Valentine's Day, that record was replaced with a new one of 1,345 megawatts, and Feb 15 sped past its romantic predecessor with 1,357 megawatts of California solar. On the 17th we easily broke the 1,400 mark, with a total that topped out at 1,421 megawatts.

And today, Friday February 22, the preliminary figures shown in the CaISO graph suggest that we've done it again, reaching somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,450 megawatts of solar powering our state.

Some of this near-relentless increase comes from our longer days, with the sun growing higher in the sky as summer slowly draws closer. And some reflects a great deal more solar capacity coming online. Most of that solar capacity is PV: CaISO has started tracking solar thermal's contribution separately, and it seems to run at or below 150 megawatts for now.

Last time we reported on solar records in the state, we half-jokingly threatened to limit our alerts to when the state passed multiples of 1,000. We may well have to do just that this spring. But six records in a winter month is enough to melt any solar wonk's heart.

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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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