Record Breaker: California Blows Past 1,500 Megawatt Solar Mark

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As of 11:45 am, Monday March 11, 2013 | Image: California ISO

California quietly set a new solar record on Sunday. At 10:00 am, the state's grid had 1,500 megawatts of solar power entering the grid for the first time ever. But that record didn't last long. An hour later, the solar contribution to the state's grid reached 1,656 megawatts.

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That solar output held again Monday, according to preliminary figures from the California Independent System Operator (CaISO).

All told, on Sunday, California's solar power capacity provided 15,394 megawatt-hours of power to the grid -- enough power for every Californian to keep a 100-watt bulb lit for four hours. Not that that would be the best use of the energy provided, seeing as it was produced while the sun was up.

As we always point out here at ReWire in order to harsh Californians' solar buzz, that record -- while cause for a smile -- still leaves us way behind the undisputed solar world champion, Germany. On a typical day in 2012, Germany generated about 78,000 megawatt hours of solar power, five times our production on Sunday.

Still, our new double-record is good news. When do you think the state will pass 2,000 megawatts of grid-tied solar output? It could be sooner than we expect.

For ongoing environmental coverage in March 2017 and afterward, please visit our show Earth Focus, or browse Redefine for historic material.
KCET's award-winning environment news project Redefine ran from July 2012 through February 2017.

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