May 18, 2024 at 9:31 am

Excess Of Solar Power In California Causes Their Electricity Prices To Drop Into The Negative During The Day

by Trisha Leigh

Source: Shutterstock

Naysayers continue to scream that alternative energy sources don’t work, or there are too many hurdles to clear to make it feasible.

That said, in real life, these same alternative energy sources are absolutely crushing it.

California gets over a quarter of its electricity from solar, and these days, generates more power than they can use on sunny days.

In fact, lately their electricity prices have been dipping into the negative.

Although this sounds good, experts like Michelle Davis says this will be a challenge for renewable energy going forward.

“These are not insurmountable challenges. But they are challenges that a lot of grid operators have never had to deal with.”

Source: Shutterstock

With fossil fuels, grid operators have the ability to control and sometimes even predict how much energy the grid supplies.

This isn’t an option with solar, so a “net load” comes into play.

This is the total demand for electricity minus the energy supplied by renewable energy – and what’s left over is the amount of power the system will need from conventional sources.

By midday on a sunny day, solar energy can provide all of the needed power – and then some.

Clyde Loutan, principle for renewable energy integration for the state, says the “drastically underestimated the speed at which residential solar was going to come in.”

It’s a good problem to have, but it does lead to wasted energy – over 2.4 million megawatt-hours in 2022.

Some argue that this waste could cause electricity prices to rise.

Last year, California started paying solar owners less money for the energy they put into the grid, making solar less affordable.

Source: Shutterstock

Proponents of solar say there are other, better solutions to this problem – one of which is selling the excess power to nearby states.

The game changer will come when scientists are finally able to produce a battery that will be able to store this solar energy for later use.

Once that happens, California may be able to say goodbye to fossil fuels forever.

I wonder what the naysayers will say then.

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