California sets a new utility-scale solar generation record at 4.9 GW

California’s grid operator reports a new state record for utility-scale solar PV and CSP generation, at 4.903 GW at 2:18 PM on September 29th. This is the latest in an series of solar generation records that California has set, following on a peak of 4.813 GW in mid-August.

As the California Independent System Operator (ISO) only measures the output of utility-scale PV and CSP generation, this number is still short of the state’s full solar output. According to GTM Research and SEIA’s Solar Market Insight report California had another 2.8 GW of behind-the-meter PV at the end of the second quarter of 2014.

Both utility-scale PV and CSP output peaked late in the day, with PV reaching a peak of 4.25 GW at 2:17 PM and CSP hitting 659 MW at 3:08 PM. As state-wide demand was just under 30 GW at 2 PM, utility-scale PV and CSP peaked at around 16% of demand.

While still behind Italy and Germany, California has reached higher levels of solar penetration than France or the UK as measured by percentage of demand met. If California were an independent nation, it would have roughly the same level of solar penetration as the average in Western Europe.