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California hits new big solar peak – 50% of total demand

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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.

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.

“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.

  

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  • Anthony

    The top graph (showing the %age of demand being met by renewables) would be a great addition/alternative to http://www.opennem.org.au – I love that site but have to keep a calculator app going so I can work out how much demand we met with renewables!

  • Rod

    5MW of coal. That would be a neat trick. Maybe the software can’t handle the thought of zero coal.

  • MaxG

    One would think such news would convince the anti-renewable crowd… bu then, we couldn’t convince the flat-earthers that the earth is a sphere.

    • joono

      There are people right around the globe that know the earth is flat

    • solarguy

      There are some you can’t convince because there not thinkers or stupid, then there is the coal and oil lobbies who know that RE works and are desperate to keep the status quo, by telling big porky pies to the masses……………..and you know the rest.