California Set Back-To-Back Solar Records Last Week

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"California Set Back-To-Back Solar Records Last Week"

Bobby Bailey

CREDIT: AP Photo / Bob Leverone

Last week was a good week for solar energy in California, with the state setting back-to-back solar power records in two days.

Solar facilities produced 4,093 megawatts of power in California on Saturday March 8, a spike from the previous day’s record of 3,926 megawatts, according to the California Independent System Operator. That’s enough energy, ISO says, to power about 3 million homes. California’s generated solar power has more than doubled since June 2013 and more than quadrupled since 2012, according to the group. The record also means that on Saturday, 78 percent of the state’s 5,231 megawatts of installed solar was producing energy.

“This shows that California is making remarkable progress in not only getting new resources approved and connected to the grid, but making meaningful contributions in keeping the lights on as well,” Steve Berberich, president the California ISO, said. “The milestones illustrate that we are well into a new era when clean, renewable energy is shouldering its share of our electricity needs — and that is exciting.”

California is a leader in solar energy, especially as of late. Last year, California doubled its rooftop solar installations, which jumped from 1,000 to 2,000 megawatts. The state also leads the way in solar jobs — California hosts a third of the nation’s total solar jobs and has added 3,523 since 2012. Solar employers in California don’t expect the job growth to stop anytime soon, either — they’re predicting 10,500 new solar jobs in the state this year.

California’s also planning on installing more solar capacity. The 4,400-acre McCoy Solar Energy Project, for example, is expected to get the OK from Riverside County leaders this week. And Ivanpah, the world’s largest solar thermal plant, went online in California in February.

In addition to solar, California has about 5,890 megawatts of wind generation, ranking it second in wind generation in the U.S. behind Texas.

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