6HWbNHN-show-poster2x3-c7tgE2Y.png

Artbound

Start watching
MJ250sC-show-poster2x3-Bflky7i.png

Tending Nature

Start watching
Southland Sessions

Southland Sessions

Start watching
Earth Focus

Earth Focus

Start watching
5LQmQJY-show-poster2x3-MRWBpAK.jpg

Reporter Roundup

Start watching
City Rising

City Rising

Start watching
Lost LA

Lost LA

Start watching
Member
Your donation supports our high-quality, inspiring and commercial-free programming.
Support Icon
Learn about the many ways to support KCET.
Support Icon
Contact our Leadership, Advancement, Membership and Special Events teams.

California Approaches 4 Gigawatts of Utility-Scale Solar Output

Support Provided By
solar-record-2-24-14-thumb-600x450-69273
California beats solar records without even counting rooftop installations like this one in Covina | Photo:WalMart/Flickr/Creative Commons License

As the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System seems to slowly come online, California is setting new peaks for solar power generation. A record of just over 3,600 megawatts in peak solar power output reached on Friday seems to have already fallen.

On Friday, the state's utility-scale solar facilities contributed 24,183 megawatt-hours of power to the state's grid, according to the California Independent System Operator (CaISO). The state's peak solar output reached 3,605 megawatts, a new record.

But that record may be history, as CaISO's automatically generated renewable energy output figures for today seem to indicate that the state's wholesale solar output just edged past 3,800 megawatts for about twenty minutes starting at about 10:30 a.m.

CaISO's figures aren't official until the grid operator's staff reviews them; a more detailed record will be published on the site Tuesday.

As the German renewables wonkery site Solarserver observed, Friday also marked a record for solar thermal output in California, with a peak of 416 megawatts at around 10:00 a.m. That suggests that the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System may actually be starting to contribute a significant amount of electricity to the grid.

Ivanpah's Unit 2 was reported as offline on Friday when the last record was set. If the plant's operators succeed in bringing all three of its power tower units online, the state may soon leave the 4,000-megawatt milestone in the dust.

At the time of the apparent record on Monday, total power demand in the portion of the state served by CaISO was just shy of 36,500 megawatts, meaning that the state's utility-scale solar power plants were supplying more than 10 percent of the total demand.

caiso-graph-solar-record-2-24-14-thumb-600x377-69271
California solar output on Monday, February 24, 2014 | Image: California Independent System Operator

As always when we cover CaISO's output records, we must offer a couple of reminders. First off, CaISO doesn't track energy produced on the consumer side, such as rooftop solar installations on homes and businesses. With more than 2,000 megawatts of client-side solar panels in the state, that means a significant undercount of the amount of solar power being used in California.

Second, our state still has a long way to go before it matches the solar totals of comparably sized economies elsewhere in the world, notably Germany, which has about 20 times the rooftop solar capacity as California.

Support Provided By
Read More
Perez takes a break during his therapy. He could barely breathe when he was admitted to Los Angeles County’s Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in early June of last year.

Learning to Live Again: A Lazarus Tale from the COVID-19 Front Lines

Vicente Perez Castro, a 57-year-old cook from Long Beach, could barely breathe when he was admitted to Los Angeles County’s Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. At a certain point, the doctors told his family that he wasn’t going to make it. Months later, here he was — an outpatient at Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center in Downey, the only public hospital in the county whose main mission is patient rehab.
A keychain hangs from a lock on a doorknob.

Landlords Can Sign Up for Rent-Guaranteed Program to House Homeless Angelenos During the Pandemic and Beyond

The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority today urged property owners to sign up for a program that matches landlords with people experiencing homelessness, with rent guaranteed by the government.
The fourth person from the left, Bii Gallardo help hold a banner that reads "DEFEND THE SACRED" during the L.A. Women’s March in January 2020.

Bii Gallardo: Building Relationships with Land to Fight For Climate Justice

“I’ve fallen in love with working with my community and working for social justice and environmental rights,” says Bii Gallardo. Those are the reasons why the Apache and Yaqui activist works so hard to recognize Indigenous voices and fight for environmental justice.