Large-scale solar meets record 49.95% of demand in California

The California Independent System Operator (CAISO) has announced that on Sunday, March 4 at 12.58 PM local time the state’s grid hit an all-time ‘peak percentage of demand served by solar of 49.95%.’ The previous record was 47.2%, set in May 2017.

In a tweet the following day Joe Deely pointed out that CAISO also broke 10 GW of utility scale solar power production for the first time.

Also yesterday, at 10.20 AM – according to a rough analysis by Carter Lavin – if we were to have included the 5,000MW of production coming from smaller rooftop project, roughly two-thirds of California’s electricity was coming from solar power for a moment. Lavin added a bit of perspective,

So – for a bit this morning the world’s 6th largest economy got about 67% of its electricity from the sun. And today another hundred something Californians put on their home.

For all of 2017, solar solar made up roughly 15% of California’s in-state electricity generation – although actual demand met was lower as California has imports a significant amount of its electricity. To cope with the increasing volumes of solar energy – including curtailments during the hydro power heavy spring of 2017 – the state has begun to push energy storage significantly. CAISO has specifically suggested load shifting solar electricity using energy storage toward peak of net demand in the late afternoon and early evening.