Utility-scale solar is starting to become a major presence in California. In fact, a record 6 million homes are now being supplied with solar power throughout the state.
July 12th, 2016 saw one of the largest productions of solar electricity at just over 8 gigawatts. This is considerably more than what was produced in May, which also impressively saw a bit more than 50 percent of demand delivered by large solar farms.
This impressive record does not take into account the more than half million solar panel systems installed on homes and businesses. With some averages assumed, this adds approximately another 12.5 gigawatts of solar energy produced daily.
The state continues to support legislation that guarantees that renewable energy is an important and growing part of its future. For example, by 2030, 50 percent of all electricity generated by state owned utilities must be from renewable sources.
As it currently stands, solar still needs much help from wind and hydro. This is because solar energy production begins to taper off in the hours before dusk. At the same time, energy demand increases as most people get home from work. Wind and hydro will get much needed help from energy storage technologies in the not too distant future.
While solar still represents a small percentage of total electricity production nationwide, there’s plenty of reasons for optimism. Solar has grown quickly in a handful of states and the others will follow suit real soon. The decisions made by states to make solar financially unfavorable through unfair fees and net metering changes will be overturned by the will of the people. Cost effective energy storage will also play a significant role in the future dominance of solar power.
So congratulations California! As the world’s sixth largest economy, its embrace of solar power can not be understated. Other states and the world as a whole are now much more aware of how truly valuable a solar powered society is. Many others will follow California’s lead real soon.