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

State Energy Officials Celebrate 1 Gigawatt Solar Mark

Solar rooftop power in fog-bound Noyo, California | Photo: Larry McCombs/Flickr/Creative Commons License

ReWire noted California's passing the one-gigawatt solar milestone a couple of weeks ago; the record-breaking amount of solar electricity feeding into the grid set U.S. records, making California the state with the largest solar capacity. And California's energy establishment isn't wasting the opportunity to celebrate.

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Tomorrow, during the usually well-attended ISO Stakeholder Symposium in Sacramento, officials from the California Independent System Operator (CaISO), California Energy Commission (CEC) and California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) will speak to the public and the press about the state's solar record, as well as progress on California's Renewable Portfolio Standard, which requires that 33% of the state's power be obtained from renewable sources by 2020.

The event will take place during the symposium at 11:30, at the Sacramento Convention Center.

Since we reported on the state passing the 1,000-megawatt (1 gigawatt) mark in August, the state's solar power consumption has surpassed the 1,000 megawatt level on 10 of the last 14 days. In fact, the state's solar output peaked at around 1,069 megawatts on August 31, raising the possibility that the state's peak may soon surpass 1,100 or even 1,200 megawatts.

We probably won't get a lot further than that this year, according to CaISO's Steven Greenlee, who reminded ReWire that it's almost fall, the days are getting shorter and the angle of the sun lower, and the output of the state's solar infrastructure is thus likely to dwindle a bit. Benchmarks like 1.5 or 2 gigawatts will likely have to wait until 2013. (We at ReWire are holding out hope that those benchmarks will be a distant memory by this time next year.)

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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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