I first wrote about this California solar problem over two years ago. While talking with a local electric utility manager, he quietly informed me that, with the increasing solar power trend in 2014, we would soon have more total electrical power produced during certain hours than the utilities could use — or even handle. Such power can’t efficiently be stored, so the excess is useless during these peak periods.
But it turns out that it’s worse than I thought. California utilities are GIVING some of our excess peak time power to other states. Not just giving it away — they are actually PAYING these out-of-state utilities to take our excess California solar power. Otherwise there would be so much power in the California grid that the system would shut down.
Moreover, keep in mind that we are still subsidizing ever more solar installations — industrial and residential. The problem is bound to grow. The madness of this pell-mell increase in green energy production coupled with feel-good (but expensive) subsidies is having its predictable effect.
The story is detailed in the LA TIMES:
EXCERPT: On 14 days during March, Arizona utilities got a gift from California: free solar power.
Well, actually better than free. California produced so much solar power on those days that it paid Arizona to take excess electricity its residents weren’t using to avoid overloading its own power lines.
It happened on eight days in January and nine in February as well. All told, those transactions helped save Arizona electricity customers millions of dollars this year, though grid operators declined to say exactly how much. And California also has paid other states to take power.
If perchance you can’t read that story online, there’s less complete alternative which takes excerpts from the LA TIMES story: