Some places in the world are advantageous when it comes to solar energy, more so than others. The same can be said for the whole area of the United States since the country is quite large and spans several different time zones. This means we have a variety of climates with their corresponding seasons.
Unfortunately, for those who believe the Earth is flat, well, it isn’t. That is also one of the reasons why large countries such as the U.S. have different climates all throughout. The U.S. has varying degrees of exposure to sunlight and this has bigger implications than just some states having earlier dawns or dusks.
Now, why are we discussing something like this when you readers just want to find out why solar energy is perfect for California? Pardon our zeal for explanations, but we believe it is important to know how the different climates and sunlight exposure of the states of the U.S. affect the efficiency of solar panels. In short, solar energy is a lot more advantageous and efficient in some states.
Golden State indeed
This blessing from our very own sun and our position on Earth is the exact case for a state like California. You see, California is blessed with lots of sunlight and most places there usually sport a nice sunny weather. That sort of weather is where the typical models and builds of solar panels can thrive and produce the most electricity.
This is only one of the many reasons why California is called the Golden State, well, that is, apart from being home to most Hollywood stars. California is quite figuratively, a gold mine of energy, electricity to be exact and it is good that people and businesses are taking advantage of this quality of the state.
It is also worth noting that California is currently the leading state in the U.S. when it comes to solar industry and solar power. The residents, businesses, and utilities in California somehow work together in harmony to turn the whole state into a solar powerhouse.
Apart from solar power, California is also fond of other clean and green renewable energy sources such as wind or hydroelectric. There is no doubt, that the state’s contribution to the environmental awareness and rehabilitation of the country is significant, crucial even, because of the current status of renewable energy progress in the U.S.
Of course, one of the main causes of California spearheading the solar industry in the U.S. is because of Photovoltaic solar (PV) panels. These are the type of solar panels which convert sunlight into electricity and therefore thrive in environments with plenty of direct sunshine. There are other types of solar panels both available and under development but PV is the most common.
So to recap, here is why California is the perfect place for solar energy:
- The states inherent and natural climate enables lots of exposure to direct sunlight.
- This amount of sunlight is perfect for Photovoltaic solar panels.
- It also results in better electricity yields because of better sunlight.
- California is also leading the country in terms of renewable energy awareness and usage other than just solar power.
- California is already contributing a lot to the solar industry and will continue to do so in the foreseeable future.
California knows it is perfect for solar
So now we know the gist of why California is a perfect candidate for solar energy. Let’s take some of California’s statistics in terms of solar energy. The state has generated not just electricity but also a lot of buzz regarding renewable energy and the denizens of California know this.
It is good that a lot of people are taking advantage of California’s pleasant advantages. After all, making use of the free energy from the sun was a long time coming, and we have only begun harnessing the raw power of such an energy source.
Now, all that talk and discussion regarding just how fitting California is as a solar industry leader would be meaningless without action. If it is action you want, then some Californians are way ahead in the curve and have already started building marvellous establishments for the sole purpose of solar energy.
One good example is Martin Hermann’s state of the art solar farm called Springbok 2. Hermann built not just a solar farm, he built THE solar farm. The solar power plant Hermann built now produces electricity a lot cheaper than any traditional power plant in the U.S. that uses fossil fuels such as oil, coal, or natural gas. Now just imagine if some of the biggest utilities or even private companies were to build something similar, but for residential areas.
The results would be resonating and would transcend to more than just cleaner and greener energy. Fewer expenses would mean a happier and healthier populace. Springbok 2 produces electricity which could cost as low as $43 per megawatt hour while coal-generated electricity can go as high as $143 depending on the state.
“Renewable energy is now lower in price than fossil fuel. So the value proposition just on an economic basis is already more attractive — cleaning up the planet is thrown in for free,” according to Hermann.
“Goldmine” of electricity
The results of projects such as Hermann’s initiative for the solar industry has contributed to a surplus of electricity generated from solar power in California. In fact, the state has been producing so much electricity from solar power, that its wholesale electricity prices are starting to turn negative. Just imagine how much they are producing in surplus for that to happen.
Such a capacity for electricity production has to be enough to compel governments and utilities to change the ways they charge and distribute electricity to cities. Of course, price rollbacks are to be expected if California’s thousands of solar power companies and solar farms are to be maximized.
Back on March 11, 2017, and on that specific day, the solar industry managed to power half the state of California using only a combination of solar panels, solar farms, and solar thermal plants. Just to show you the impressive progress of California in this regard, the state was almost not producing any electricity from solar power 15 years ago.
Now, in that short span of time, California has improved rapidly, leading up to this point. The thing is, right now, in 2018, California might need to be taking some time off from generating too much electricity from solar energy. Even now, California is regularly offering electricity to neighboring states like Arizona just because of the excess electricity it generates from solar power.
The irony of excess power
One would think, particularly Californians, that such capacity for electricity generation would render the utility rates in the state more manageable. Ideally, California’s strength for solar power production could also alleviate the need for electricity price hikes. This has not been the case as a price hike was approved just this Summer in California.
The reason is that all this new and excess electricity from solar power has nowhere to go. Usually, grids are needed for storing excess electricity so that certain regions will be able to tap the reserves. Therein lies the problem itself, there are currently no batteries capable of storing huge amounts of excess electricity.
Basically, a lot of that energy from the sun turned into electricity might be going to waste. Solar power storage should certainly one of the next steps in development for the solar industry. As it is, certain renewable energy sources sometimes have to be curtailed to reduce or prevent power surges.
A similar problem in countries such as Germany also exists, where excess electricity from the solar industry would have to be shelled out to neighbor countries. Sometimes Germany even has to pay its neighbors to take all the free and excess electricity because of how efficient and bountiful its renewable energy sources are.
Still, progress is being made every day and a fully encompassing solution could soon rise to a problem like that.
It is also home to some of the best solar companies
Of course, this achievement and eligibility of California for solar energy would not have been possible were it not for two things. First, the people of California who, in their advanced state of awareness and willingness to contribute to clean and green changes, have made solar power progress possible.
Second, the solar power companies, who provide means for people and businesses to practice their awareness of solar energy. California is actually the home base of some of the largest and most successful solar power companies including, but not limited to our very own SunPower. To be exact, SunPower has its roots planted in San Diego, California.
SunPower is currently among the top three biggest and most popular solar power companies in the U.S. We owe this to the state itself and its renewable energy policies and the support of the people. Being one of the oldest solar companies in the world too, we have witnessed the growth and progress of California into becoming the solar power leader in the U.S.
Rest assured, California is the state where you want to be (or at least be like) for all things solar, we have seen this and contributed to it first-hand. With that in mind, continuing the state’s success and improving its viability for solar power is our goal, along with helping the people and environment of the whole country.