California's ongoing drought has had a huge, negative impact on the state, but there is one silver lining: solar power (at least according to Bentham Paulos from Grist). The lack of rain has devastated California's water supply, and slowed production of hydroelectric power, but solar power is booming. Solar energy production is up, and big, utility-scale solar power plants are coming online, providing as much as 5% of the states power:
Solar power has exploded in California over the past two years as a number of enormous utility-scale projects have come online. California has almost 10,000 megawatts of solar, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association, a national trade group, producing enough power to meet 5 percent of state demand in 2014. Over half of that is from big utility systems, which fill acres and acres with both photovoltaic and mirrored solar systems.
Distributed solar, on the rooftops of homes and businesses, has continued to rocket, despite the fact that state rebates faded away last year. According to Bernadette Del Chiaro of the California Solar Energy Industries Association, California is now home to over 250,000 distributed solar projects, about half of the nation’s total. Pacific Gas and Electric, one of the largest utilities in the state, connects about 4,000 new customer solar arrays each month — a new system every 11 minutes.
Solar power has long been seen as one of the most viable of the renewable energy sources, and the drought in California, while devastating, is proving a compelling argument for more solar power. Check out more data about how the drought has impacted solar energy in the full article over at Grist.