In the past week or so, California set a new record for solar generation – then broke that record – and also set a new mark for wind generation.
Chris Clarke at ReWire flagged these achievements, finding them irresistible despite their inevitability. (As he noted, “The state is building more renewable energy generating capacity than it’s ever had, so records will be dropping pretty routinely.”)
But I’ll tell you what struck me: How dramatically the generation records are being broken in the Golden State, particularly on the solar side.
Consider: Around the beginning of this year – less than five months ago – we reported that on New Year’s Eve California set a new solar generation record of 1,122 megawatts, then on January 2 this year topped that record with 1,235 MW.
The new record(s) reported by Clarke are hugely beyond that.
On May 23, solar generation hit 1,872 MW.
On May 24, it climbed to 1,897 MW.
What that means is that since the end of last year, the peak generation record has jumped 69 percent. (Note that these totals from the California Independent System Operator include only wholesale solar, leaving out the more than 1 gigawatt of solar capacity behind meters on the roofs of businesses and homes all over the state.)
Perhaps even more telling is where generation stands on nonspectacular days. As Clarke noted, when solar settled back down it was “to levels we’ve seen before, in the 1,600s.” Even that is substantially beyond where the state was peaking just a handful of months ago. Reckon that’s what happens when you put a lot of big new solar online, like this.
The new wind record, by the way, was 4,258 MW, set last Sunday.