California first state to generate more than 5% of electricity from utility-scale solar

March 24, 2015

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration,
Note: Data include generation from plants greater than 1 megawatt.

California has become the first state with more than 5% of its annual utility-scale electricity generation from utility-scale solar power, according to EIA’s . California’s utility-scale (1 megawatt (MW) or larger) solar plants generated a record 9.9 million megawatthours (MWh) of electricity in 2014, an increase of 6.1 million MWh from 2013. California’s utility-scale solar production in 2014 was more than three times the output of the next-highest state, Arizona, and more than all other states combined.

Several large plants were phased into operation in California during 2014, including two 550 MW solar photovoltaic plants, solar thermal plants. In total, nearly 1,900 MW of new utility-scale solar capacity was added, bringing the state’s utility-scale capacity for all solar technologies to 5,400 MW by the end of 2014.

California has promoted solar power through a series of state policies, including a (RPS) that requires electricity providers to obtain 33% of the power they sell from eligible renewable sources by 2020. In 2014, the state obtained 22% of its electricity from nonhydropower renewables including wind, solar, and biomass.

California also created incentives, including rebates and net-metering policies, to encourage rooftop and other small-scale solar capacity, whose generation is not captured in the above figure. By the end of 2014, , according to the California Public Utilities Commission.

The top three states in utility-scale solar generation in 2014 were California, Arizona, and Nevada. These states in the southwestern United States have some of the .

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration,
Note: Data include generation from plants greater than 1 megawatt.

The increase in California’s solar production came the same year that drought conditions caused .

Principal contributor: Allen McFarland

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