Author Archives: Californiasolar Staff

How California Can Avoid Throwing Away Solar Energy

Why would anyone even consider shutting down as much as 80 percent of California’s giant solar power plants, which cost virtually nothing to run and emit no pollution? They also have enough capacity at any given minute to power up more than 7 million households, and solar power is crucial to meeting our renewable energy goals of 33 percent by 2020 and half by 2030.

The California Independent System Operator (CAISO) isn’t anti-solar; turning off renewable generation is a last resort. The problem is that during an increasing number of hours there isn’t enough electricity demand within the state to absorb all our renewable energy production.  Without better integration of the western grid, California’s renewable energy is too often blocked from willing buyers outside the state, and the problem is getting steadily worse.

The solution lies in a transition to a fully integrated western grid in which the balancing authorities are consolidated and all generators have full competitive access to electricity buyers across 15 states, two Canadian provinces, and parts of Mexico.


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Here’s how California ended up with too much solar power

California’s power-grid operators are dealing with a glut of daytime electricity produced by household, government, business and industrial solar installations.  This forces the electricity prices on state’s real-time marketplace to plummet, leading some power-plant operators to shut down until demand catches up with supply later in the day.

And increasing amounts of wind and solar energy are being wasted or “curtailed,” as they call it, because no one can use it, according to data obtained from the California Independent System Operator ( Cal ISO).  Last year 305,241 megawatt hours of solar and wind electricity were curtailed — a loss of enough carbon-free electricity that could have powered about 45,000 California homes for a year.


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Ivanpah solar plant built to limit greenhouse gases is burning more natural gas

The behemoth Ivanpah solar power plant built with federal subsidies to combat climate change is using increasing amounts of natural gas, a greenhouse-gas-emitting fuel, state and federal data show.

The most recent numbers from the California Air Resources Board show that in 2015, the plant’s second year of operation, carbon emissions from Ivanpah’s gas use jumped by 48.4 percent to 68,676 metric tons.  That’s more than twice the pollution threshold for power plants or factories in California to be required to participate in the state’s cap-and-trade program to reduce carbon emissions.


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Elon Musk wants to sell you a better-looking roof

Musk, the chief executive of Tesla Motors and chairman of SolarCity, showcased a line of high-design solar roof tilesthat would replace clunky solar panels and tie into an upgraded version of the Tesla wall-mounted battery for those times when the sun doesn’t shine. The glass solar shingles resemble French slate, Tuscan barrel tile or more conventional roofing materials with a textured or smooth surface.


To read full article from LA Times, click here

Welcome to CaliforniaSolar 

Our Mission is stated on the homepage:  CaliforniaSolar is developed as a one-stop site for news, policy developments, analysis, research, and data on this fast growth solar industry.

The solar professionals and enthusiasts who have contributed to the development of this site believe this is necessary for three basic reasons.

First, CaliforniaSolar is created as a site where widely dispersed news and information regarding solar developments in California can be conveniently accessed. Googling the phrase “California, Solar” will yield over 150,000 sites with products, news, opinions, research and events. We don’t claim that CaliforniaSolar will replicate the content of all these sites, but we are committed to providing detailed information on current events, new developments, and the general state of the industry in a timely, concise, and organized manner so that you can find what you are seeking without undue effort. We will provide information with brief summaries and links to further reading so that our visitors can quickly identify if an article or information source appears to fit what they are seeking.

Second, we have repeatedly been amazed at the volume of insightful studies and research that surface from time to time, but which are often buried in corners of websites visited only by specialists. CaliforniaSolar is created to make this information more accessible to the broader public, be you professional, writer, student or informed layman. Again, we seek to organize this information by topic and with brief abstracts or summaries to simplify your search and access process.

Finally, we believe there is need for a forum for exchange of ideas on solar developments, information, and events. Yes, there are already some excellent opportunities for discussion on selected websites, but these typically focus on a narrow range of topics. As this site matures, we look forward to providing space for users to offer analysis, opinions, or experienced user input on emerging issues, news items, information sources and events. To paraphrase the 125 year old saying by New York Times owner Adolph Ochs, we seek to provide information and insights “without fear or favor, regardless of party, sect, or interests involved.”

CaliforniaSolar has no commercial interests; we don’t provide product or sales information as we are not seeking profit from sales or promotional activities. We believe climate change is real and a serious threat to maintaining a habitable planet. We believe Solar Energy is part of the solution to this challenge. We see that California has a key role in domestic and international developments, and what happens here as a laboratory for new ideas is important to share. We welcome you to the process of following and understanding developments as these unfold on the pages of this website.

Gerald W. Bernstein
Managing Editor