California breaks solar generation record twice in one week
The peak solar generation record was shattered on Tuesday, February 10, 2015, when state utility-scale solar power plants fed 4,933 megawatts into the power grid. This number more than doubled the previous record set by the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station at its peak, according to the California Independent System Operator. However, the record was short-lived, when the statewide solar plants achieved an impressive 5,117 megawatts of power just two days later on Thursday, February 12. This marked the first time in history the state surpassed five gigawatts of power generated.
Of course, in Germany, which has roughly the same economic size as California, solar grid installations have a capacity of 38,236 megawatts of solar power, allowing them to achieve 9,500 megawatts at just a quarter of production capability, according to KCET, a local southern California news station. However, this record sets a key milestone for California.
According to the news source, CaISO’s measurements only include utility-scale solar generation, so any solar plants outside of CaISO’s service area aren’t included in the total, nor are residential solar energy panels or small-scale solar arrays. This means the actual total for California’s solar generation is much higher. Vote Solar, an advocacy group for the renewable energy resource, noted that residential solar panels account for nearly 2.5 gigawatts of power across the state. This would put the actual record at 7,500 megawatts — an even more impressive figure.
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