New Projects, On-Site Power, Policy & Regulation, Renewables, Solar

EIA: California first state to generate 5% electricity from utility-scale solar power

California has become the first state with more than 5 percent of its annual utility-scale electricity generation from solar power, according to EIA’s Electric Power Monthly.

California’s utility-scale (1-MW or larger) solar power plants generated 9.9 million MWh of electricity in 2014, an increase of 6.1 million MWh from 2013. California’s utility-scale solar power production in 2014 was more than three times the output of the next-highest state, Arizona, and more than all other states combined.

Several large plants were phased into operation in California during 2014, including two 550-MW solar photovoltaic (PV) plants, Topaz and Desert Sunlight (Phases 1 and 2), as well as the 377-MW Ivanpah (Phases 1, 2, and 3) and the 250-MW Genesis solar thermal plants. In total, nearly 1,900-MW of new utility-scale solar capacity was added, bringing the state’s utility-scale capacity for all solar technologies to 5,400-MW by the end of 2014.

California’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS) requires electricity providers to obtain 33 percent of the power they sell from eligible renewable energy sources by 2020. In 2014, the state obtained 22 percent of its electricity from non-hydropower renewables including wind, solar, and biomass. Additionally, the state created incentives to encourage rooftop solar and other small-scale solar capacity. By the end of 2014, more than 2,300-MW of small-scale solar capacity was installed on homes and businesses, according to the California Public Utilities Commission.

Subscribe to Power Engineering magazine