Solar Energy Reaches 40 Percent of Total Power in Most of California

By Editors of Power Engineering

California Independent System Operator reported solar energy accounted for nearly 40 percent of all grid power produced between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. for the first time.

The achievement is due to a nearly 50 percent growth in utility-scale solar capacity installed over the last year, the Energy Information Administration reported. Utilities in CASIO now have a solar capacity of 5.4 GW.

EIA estimated the total solar share of gross demand likely exceeded 50 percent during mid-day hours.

As a result, power prices on the CASIO power exchange has been driven to much lower levels, sometimes negative. However, these prices have yet to be passed on to consumers, as California customers pay prices that are among the highest in the nation.

Though the sun’s angles in March are similar to that experienced in September and October, overall electricity demand is at the relative minimum in early spring, while demand is still relatively high in late summer and early fall, which suggests March will experience the lowest power prices of the year in California.