- California set a new record for utility-scale solar generation on September 29 at 2:18 PM. The California Independent System Operator (CAISO) announced the state achieved 4,903 megawatts of utility-scale solar power from both concentrating solar power technology (CSP) and photovoltaics arrays (PV).
- Because CAISO only measures the output of utility-scale PV and CSP generation, California’s actual solar output, including the 2.8 gigawatts of rooftop and distributed solar it had at the end of Q2 2014, was significantly higher on the record-breaking day.
- The new record, despite coming on a shorter autumn day, is 800 megawatts more than the previous record of 4,091 megawatts set in March 2014. It is the latest in a succession of solar generation records demonstrating the speed at which California is deploying solar capacity.
A CAISO spokesperson told UtilityDive earlier in the year that renewables generation records were being broken so frequently the grid operator would have to stop making announcements unless the new record exceeded the previous one by at least 500 megawatts.
The 4.25 gigawatt utility-scale PV generation peak came at 2:17 PM on September 29 and the 650 megawatt CSP peak output was at 3:08 PM.
State-wide demand was just under 30 gigawatts in the 2 PM hour that day, making utility-scale solar 16% of CAISO’s load.
California’s solar penetration is less than that of Italy or Germany but more than that of France or the UK. If California was a country, its solar penetration would be about that of the average Western European country.