News and analysis about renewable energy in California.

New Solar Records in California This Week

Solar canopies at a Fort Hunter Liggett construction site | Photo: John Prettyman, US Army Corps of Engineers

California just broke another solar power record this week: for the first time in its history, more than 2,500 megawatts of electricity from the sun flowed into the state's power distribution grid. And that's not even counting juice from small rooftop arrays.

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The California Independent System Operator has made that record official:

That's after a previous record of 2,495 megawatts set on Wednesday.

What's more, it looks as though the state may have blown way past that record Friday, as preliminary figures from CaISO shown in graphic form seem to indicate a jump of aboout 100 megawatts since Thursday:

Renewable energy figures for August 9,, 2013 | Image: CaISO

That graph is automatically generated, and Friday's new record must be verified by one of CaISO's many human employees before we take it as gospel. In addition, these records don't include solar panels installed behind electric meters, which CaISO can't track. There's at least 1,600 megawatts of those in the state.

And as we pretty much always point out, California's capacity lags well behind unlikely competitors such as unsunny Germany, which had 34 gigawatts of solar generating capacity a month ago.

Still, it's always fun to note the passing of zeros as the California solar nerd odometer rolls over.

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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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