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

Happy New Year! California Breaks Another Solar Record

A solar record set in winter | IMage courtesy CaISO

We reported last month that California had come close on December 19 to its all-time solar power generation record despite the weak winter sun -- an indication that the state's solar capacity has grown substantially.

Well, now we can top that: As of January 2, that old Summer record is history. For a couple hours today, California's grid-tied solar power production topped 1.2 gigawatts -- a new all-time record.

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Here's the tweet from California's grid operator making it semi-official:

In addition to a record number of photovoltaic installations, the peak can be attributed to a clear blue sky across most of California, with cloud cover only in the mountains and extreme northeast corner of the state. The coasts and interior valleys, which host the majority of the state's solar installations, have no clouds to impede the sunshine.

Today's record is likely to become history in fairly short order as well, as the days lengthen and sun rises in the sky. Just another milestone on California's road to its solar future.

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Thumbnail photo credit: 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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Congratulations solar! It was indeed a clear, bright, sunny day in California. Paradise! However, there was only 9.5 hours of sunlight. It was also quite calm that day. The graph above shows Geothermal energy providing a dependable baseload supply throughout the day, in fact 365, 24/7.

Just the week before, on Christmas Day, Geothermal provided over 40 percent of the total for renewables that day. See my article "Geothermal Provides Baseload Power for Christmas in California" that uses the same ISO data source.

It's all well and good celebrating milestones in solar generation in California but do not forget the state is rich is geothermal resources that will continue to be developed. Lets see some coverage of this important clean and reliable energy.