California Producing More Utility-Scale Solar Than Any Other State

Right now, California is suffering from one of the worst droughts in the state’s history. Luckily, it’s not suffering from a shortage of sunshine. Maybe that’s why the Golden State is now producing more utility-scale solar than all other states combined!

The Jump in Utility-Scale Solar

According to Bloomberg, California is the first U.S. state to get five percent of its annual utility-scale electricity from solar energy. The U.S. Energy Information Administration released this chart that shows just how big the jump has been for solar. In just one year, solar has increased from less than two percent to five percent of California’s total power generation. That means California isn’t just producing the most utility-scale solar electricity of any state in the country, but that it’s producing more than all of the states combined!

Here’s a breakdown on the numbers: California’s utility-scale solar plants, which equals one megawatt (MW) or larger,  generated a record 9.9 million megawatthours (MWh) of electricity in 2014. That’s a giant increase of 6.1 million MWh from 2013. And last year, California’s utility-scale solar production was more than three times the output of the next-highest state, Arizona.



What’s even more amazing is that this chart doesn’t even include rooftop solar. This is ONLY for utility-scale solar. This means rooftop solar boosts that percentage even higher. Guess what? The California Public Utilities Commission says that the state is leading in small-scale solar as well.

How California is Leading in Solar

Renewable energy now makes up about a third of California’s electricity. This has been partly accomplished through renewable requirements for utilities and incentives for homeowners, along with rebates and net-metering policies that encourage rooftop and small-scale solar.

Solar power promotion through a series of state policies has also bolstered the amount of solar power, including a renewable portfolio standard requiring electricity providers to obtain 33 percent of the power they sell from eligible renewable sources by 2020. With five years left, California already gets 22 percent of its electricity from nonhydropower renewables like wind and solar.

Moreover, California is home to two of the largest solar photovoltaic plants in the world, the Topaz and Desert Sunlight plants. Both have the capacity to produce 550 megawatts. That’s in addition to the recent announcement by Apple to build a $850 million solar farm to power their campus and Apple stores.

With these most recent findings, it looks like California will continue leading in developing and nurturing solar power as an electricity alternative. Your move, Arizona and Nevada! (To their credit, both of those states generated nearly three percent of their total electricity from solar plants.)

What do you think of California’s incentives and their push towards solar? Tell us in the comments!

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