New solar record in CAISO demonstrate that solar delivers when grid needs it most

With more and more solar being built in California, new records of peak solar generation are being set and re-set.  On September 5, the California Independent System Operator issued a press release (pdf) to celebrate how solar is helping meet the state’s energy needs: “California surpassed a major milestone during a recent heat wave that hit the sun-soaked state. More than 1,000 megawatts of solar power generation—equal to the size of two large gas-fired power plants—set new U.S. records twice in recent weeks.”  (Note that this data reflects only wholesale generation — when you add the 1.2 GW and counting of customer-owned solar generation that serves onsite load, the total more than doubles).

A key takeaway here is that solar generates when the grid needs it the most.  August 14 was a flex-alert day, when a heatwave drove the grid to near breaking point.  As the CAISO chart shows, solar was there when the grid needed it the most.  Solar offsets the most expensive electricity, and reduces costs for all.