California leads nation in solar output

Solar growing, but other fuel sources still dominate grid.
By Daniel J. Graeber Follow @dan_graeber Contact the Author   |   June 26, 2014 at 9:01 AM

WASHINGTON, June 26 (UPI) -- California's solar energy output is setting records but renewables still represent a small share of the state's power generation, the Energy Department said.

The Energy Information Administration, the statistical arm of the Energy Department, said solar power capacity in California is setting records. During peak daylight hours, solar power supplied 14 percent of the electricity for the California Independent System Operator, which oversees the state's grid.

EIA noted that during peak daylight hours, solar power offsets the use of natural gas or interstate electricity imports. During lulls, however, the share of other fuel sources increases.

"Solar and renewables still constitute a relatively small share of generation for California in the context of all fuel sources," EIA said in a Wednesday briefing. "Natural gas accounted for 59 percent of net generation in 2013, and 3,940 megawatts of new natural gas capacity came online in 2013."

The grid operator posted a midday record of 4,767 MW from solar power June 1. The May average of 4,086 MW was 150 percent higher than May 2013.

California in 2013 accounted for more than 75 percent of the nation's solar output.

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