California Grid Hits Record Solar Generation Peak
A new solar generation peak of 849 megawatts on June 8
The IWR, Germany’s renewable energy organization, issued a release saying that “under a cloudless sky” on May 25, German solar generation reached 22,000 megawatts. That’s about half of Germany’s peak afternoon load, depending on the time of year. Dr. Norbert Allnoch of the IWR said that there is no other country on earth with solar plants capable of producing over 20,000 megawatts of electricity.
Well, California is setting its own records for solar production.
Stephanie McCorkle, Director of Communications of the California Independent System Operator, noted that a new record was set on June 8 with 849 megawatts of solar generation on the system. In a conversation with Greentech Media, McCorkle said, “The solar record would continue to be broken as the days get longer” and we move towards the summer solstice.
A Peaking Resource
McCorkle explained, “With solar, you have a gradual ramp with a peak when you need it at AC [air conditioning] rush hour,” adding that “solar is a nice peaking resource” without the fluctuations of wind power. Solar is fairly predictable at this time of year in California absent coastal marine layers moving in and causing variability. She did note that conventional generation was still needed as a backup resource.
The cumulative amount of solar installed in the U.S. at the end of Q1 2012 was 4.943 gigawatts, according to GTM Research.