The state is, at times, producing more energy than it can use. That has led it to explore storage options and trim financial incentives.

Too much solar? How California found itself with an unexpected energy challenge

Because they’re in abundance and cover large areas, parking lots are obvious candidates for doubling up as solar arrays. But that’s only part of the potential benefit. It makes sense aesthetically and logistically too—mass parking tends to be right next to energy-hungry urban areas, and it’s hard to make a vast asphalt lot any uglier. It’s a “no-brainer solution to providing clean electricity without wasting space,” says Joshua Pearce, professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Western Ontario.

Why Not Cover Ugly Parking Lots With Solar Panels?

bizgrrl's picture

California is pursuing large

California is pursuing large batteries.

"California draws more electricity from the sun than any other state. It also has a timing problem: Solar power is plentiful during the day but disappears by evening, just as people get home from work and electricity demand spikes. To fill the gap, power companies typically burn more fossil fuels like natural gas.

That’s now changing. Since 2020, California has installed more giant batteries than anywhere in the world apart from China. They can soak up excess solar power during the day and store it for use when it gets dark.

Those batteries play a pivotal role in California’s electric grid, partially replacing fossil fuels in the evening. Between 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. on April 30, for example, batteries supplied more than one-fifth of California’s electricity and, for a few minutes, pumped out 7,046 megawatts of electricity, akin to the output from seven large nuclear reactors."

I've heard that in the Midwest they are starting to grow crops under solar panels.

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