On Saturday afternoon utility-scale solar output on California’s grid peaked at 10,745 MW – its highest level since last summer. More importantly, California is wringing greater flexibility out of its imports, meaning more renewables with less curtailment.
California continues to break new ground in terms of integrating higher levels of solar, and sometimes the records come when you least expect them. Data from the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) shows that on March 16 solar output peaked at 10,765 megawatts around 2:45 PM local time.
According to several sources, this was the highest level since California set its previous record of 10,740 MW in June 2018 – despite it being four days before the Spring Equinox.
Notably, these two figures only include solar connected to the transmission grid, and not behind-the-meter solar. Based on previous estimates, rooftop and other smaller solar installations connected to the distribution grid likely produced around 50% more solar, meaning that the total output was likely somewhere around 16,000 MW.
Nor does this include all of California, as the cities of Los Angeles and Sacramento are among the areas that are not part of the CAISO grid.