California solar is 5% of state power generation in 2014

California solar more than all other States combined

California solar reached a milestone during 2014:  The first American State with more than five per cent of its annual utility-scale electricity generation from utility-scale solar power.

California solar

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Electric Power Monthly
Note: Data include generation from plants greater than 1 megawatt.

According to the Electric Power Monthlypublished by the Energy Information Administration, California’s utility-scale (1 megawatt (MW) or larger) solar plants generated a record 9.9 million megawatthours (MWh) of electricity in 2014, an increase of 6.1 million MWh from 2013.

California’s utility-scale solar production in 2014 was more than three times the output of the next-highest state, Arizona, and more than all other states combined.

Several large plants were phased into operation in California during 2014, including two 550 MW solar photovoltaic plants, Topaz and Desert Sunlight (Phases 1 and 2), as well as the 377 MW Ivanpah (Phases 1, 2, and 3) and the 250 MW Genesis solar thermal plants.

In total, nearly 1,900 MW of new utility-scale solar capacity was added, bringing the state’s utility-scale capacity for all solar technologies to 5,400 MW by the end of 2014.

California solar

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Electric Power Monthly
Note: Data include generation from plants greater than 1 megawatt.

California has promoted solar power through a series of state policies, including a renewable portfolio standard that requires electricity providers to obtain 33 per cent of the power they sell from eligible renewable sources by 2020.

In 2014, the state obtained 22 per cent of its electricity from non-hydropower renewables including wind, solar, and biomass.

California also created incentives, including rebates and net-metering policies, to encourage rooftop and other small-scale solar capacity, whose generation is not captured in the above figure. By the end of 2014, more than 2,300 MW of small-scale solar capacity was installed on homes and businesses, according to the California Public Utilities Commission.

The top three states in utility-scale solar generation in 2014 were California, Arizona, and Nevada. These states in the southwestern United States have some of the best solar resources in the world.

However, states with less-favorable solar resources, such as New Jersey and Massachusetts, also are among the top 10 states in total solar generation.

All of the top 10 states—with the exception of Florida—have a renewable portfolio standard in place. Most of those policies include a specific target for solar power or customer-sited generation

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