California grid sets solar power record

By Francisco "A.J." Camacho | 05/06/2024 06:16 AM EDT

In recent months, renewable energy has fully powered the state’s main grid for at least 15 minutes nearly every day.

Solar panels are seen over a parking lot in Kentfield, California.

Solar panels are seen over a parking lot in Kentfield, California. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

In a milestone, California produced enough renewable energy to meet its total electricity demand for portions of the past 21 straight days.

Stanford University civil and environmental engineering professor Mark Z. Jacobson calculated that on 50 of the 58 days between March 7 and May 4 — including the last 21 consecutive days — renewable energy sources supplied more than 100 percent of energy demand for between 15 minutes and 10 hours on the California Independent System Operator grid — which accounts for 80 percent of the Golden State’s electricity.

“It’s never happened before to this scale,” Jacobson said in an interview. “In past years, California has occasionally met 100 percent of demand, but only on a weekend day and never two days in a row and never during the week.”


While new solar infrastructure and favorable seasonal weather have pushed California to its landmark streak of renewable energy generation, the state’s average renewable capacity is also sharply increasing as wind, solar, and hydropower shatter records across the U.S.