The US state of California notched up a couple of impressive new solar generation records earlier this week, boosted by a couple of mild and sunny early Spring days.
On Sunday March 4, at around 1pm local time, large scale solar supplied up 49.95 per cent of demand at its pea, beating the state’s previous record of 47.2 per cent that was set in May last year.
— California ISO (@California_ISO) March 6, 2018
The very next day, on March 5, a record peak for solar production was recorded at 10,411MW at 10:18am – up from 9,913MW set last June.
On top of all that, the California Independent System Operator notes that the March 4 new solar record was accompanied by a record peak for ramping.
— California ISO (@California_ISO) March 5, 2018
“The escalating integration of solar power has created a new operating paradigm for our system operators,” Anne Gonzales, senior public information officer at CAISO, wrote in an email.
“Our operators are skilled at handling these ramps, and we expect them to continue,” Gonzales said. “The record is a result of a cool, sunny day,”
“Because it was a weekend, and the weather was mild, the minimum load was relatively low, around 18,800 megawatts,” she said. “Meanwhile, solar production was more than 9,400 megawatts.”
Like South Australia, California has been a trailblazer in the US in the uptake of renewable energy, and particularly solar – rooftop (5GW), utility-scale PV and solar thermal.
The state is well on track to meet its renewable energy target of 50 per cent by 2030, and its 100 per cent target by 2050.
And, like South Australia, this ambition has been both praised and criticised. But it’s so far, so good for solar in California – the grid even survived last August’s solar eclipse. And just yesterday, passed renewables generation levels of 50 per cent, also without incident.
@California_ISO more than 50% renewable energy today part of they day and this excludes 5GW of rooftop solar. Grid didn’t blow up. Lights stayed on. CA economy envy of most of the world. pic.twitter.com/CUsLhPJ4tr
— Tom Matzzie (@tommatzzie) March 8, 2018