There’s a funny thing happening with solar power. The costs have dropped dramatically and new records are being achieved, yet you might be hearing some overly critical misinformation about high costs or it not being practical. For one thing, solar power is now much more affordable and it is growing at a fast rate.
Also, California just achieved a new record for utility-scale solar power generation. 4.903 GW of electricity was generated by solar PV from utility-scale sources and concentrated solar power on September 29th, 2014. This is significant because the previous record was about 800 megawatts less in March of the same year. Just to be clear, in only six months there was an 800 megawatt increase in utility-scale solar power generation capacity added in California.
From the standpoint of solar power in California overall, the news is even better because the record relates only to utility-scale and CSP. There is an additional 2.8 GW of solar power in California, “As the California Independent System Operator (ISO) only measures the output of utility-scale PV and CSP generation, this number is still short of the state’s full solar output. According to GTM Research and SEIA’s Solar Market Insight report California had another 2.8 GW of behind-the-meter PV at the end of the second quarter of 2014.”
That’s a huge achievement, and one that puts California on the same level as some Western European nations for solar power capacity. The funny thing, as mentioned, is that you might have heard more about scorched birds at the Ivanpah solar plant in Southern California, even though the number of bird deaths was exaggerated. You may have also heard the news maxim, ‘If it bleeds it leads’, meaning stories about injury or death will be published, but positive stories like this one about a great achievement won’t make the evening news.
Beyond this new solar power record there is a trend that can’t be denied. Solar power in California is growing, so new records will be achieved and probably with some regularity. Thank you to the people that measure these records and share the information with the public. Without them and the omission of these important stories from mainstream media, we wouldn’t know about these important events in our transition towards renewable, clean energy.