California’s solar sector has been on a building sprint, with a solar rise from 0.5% of generation in 2010 to 10% in 2017. As a result some believe that California may be taking a break following two new production records in the month of March 2018 — which included an unprecedented 50% of the state’s demand on March 5. The next day, utility operators reported a second record for total generation from solar which produced 10,411 megawatts, beating out last year’s record by 5%.
Greentech Media reports that it is unlikely that there will be any large new purchases of solar, or other renewable energy sources, by utility companies. In short:
- Investor-owned utilities are well ahead of state targets of 25% renewables by 2020
- No new renewable capacity was procured last year (though homes and businesses are still adding more)
“They’re basically saying, ‘There’s too much going on; we don’t know what to do, so we’re not going to do anything for a while,’” Jan Smutny-Jones of the Independent Energy Producers Association told Greentech.
The US residential rooftop solar market, after at least 16 consecutive years of growth, shrank slightly in 2017, reports Bloomberg. But the residential industry is not going away, with an estimated 2,500 MW installed last year, much of it in California. Analysts expect expansion to continue in emerging markets Utah, Texas, South Carolina and Florida.
One thing could tip California’s solar market back into a furious growth period: a new target. With the mandate to generate half the state’s electricity from renewable sources by 2030 now easily within reach (renewables accounted for 27% of total generation last year), the California state Senate has proposed legislation to require 100% of the state’s power come from renewable sources by 2045.
Source: Quartz Media