California Utility-Scale Solar Energy Surpasses Wind Energy For 1st Time

Source:  By Adam Johnston, CleanTechnica • Posted: Tuesday, May 10, 2016

2015 saw a shift in the balance of utility-scale renewable energy power in California.

A recent report notes that utility-scale solar energy jumped past wind for the first time within the state.

Vaisala notes public records from the California Independent Systems Operations (CAISO) show California utility-scale solar energy in 2015 reached 15,592 GWh (or 6.7 % of California’s system), compared to wind energy reaching 5.3% of the state’s electricity generation. Even more impressive is that utility-scale solar energy has grown 15 times over since 2011, when it was only 1,000 GWh.

California installed solar capacity

“California’s continued commitment to renewable energy is very encouraging and creates a great deal of opportunity for the industry,” said Vaisala Global Manager of Energy Services Pascal Storck.

Variability in California’s solar market has increased thanks to advanced solar capacity, Vaisala said. This creates supply fluctuation and increased system volatility, which affects prices.

To counteract these concerns, Vaisala has come up with a localized reporting service for CAISO to meet increasing solar power within California’s grid, which will give more accurate information and reduce volatility.

Storck said other places around the world that have seen rapid solar capacity increases eventually put strain on systems. Vaisala is helping its customers prepare and respond within the market changes in sustainability and profitability, with its new localized forecasting system, which has been well received, Storck also said.

California leads in solar PV installations, as it continues to dominate the solar landscape. With the state having one of the top Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) of 50% by 2030, this will put further need to increase not only utility-scale solar energy, but also improved local solar forecasting to produce maximum results, as the state heads towards its clean energy goals.