As solar floods California grid, challenges loom

Source: By David R. Baker, San Francisco Chronicle • Posted: Monday, July 18, 2016

A view of some of the 749,088 solar panels at the California Valley Solar Farm near Santa Margarita, Calif., in San Luis Obispo County, on Fri. August 28, 2015. Photo: Michael Macor, The Chronicle

Photo: Michael Macor, The Chronicle
A view of some of the 749,088 solar panels at the California Valley Solar Farm near Santa Margarita, Calif., in San Luis Obispo County, on Fri. August 28, 2015.

California’s solar plants produced a record 8,030 megawatts of electricity just after 1 p.m. Tuesday — enough power for more than 6 million homes, and almost twice as much solar power as California could generate two years ago.

The state has a law requiring utilities to acquire 33 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2020. When demand on Tuesday peaked at 5:54 p.m., nearly 29 percent of electricity in the grid was renewably sourced.

On May 16, for a brief moment, renewable sources powered 56 percent of electricity in the grid.

“California continues to lead the nation in adding clean resources to the system and writing a playbook for operating a low-carbon grid,” said California Independent System Operator CEO Steve Berberich.