Here Comes the Sun!

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Ucilla Wang over at GigaOm has created this extraordinary chart from Pacific Gas & Electricity (PG&E) numbers that clearly lays out its incredible expansion of solar between now and 2020.

Amazing! PG&E solar goes from 1% to 51% of the renewable portfolio by 2020!

It’s one thing for any of us to write about each new gigantic solar farm as it gets a contract, or permitted, or delayed, back on track, financed, or finally built. It is another to see at a glance just what a gigantic change this amounts to.

This chart perfectly illustrates the sneaking suspicion that’s been gradually building up – that California’s solar expansion is way out of the ordinary.

PG&E is one of the three main electricity suppliers for the state, so the others, SDG&E and SCE may have different percentages of each renewable source.

GigaOm got the numbers during SolarTech’s Wednesday conference in San Jose from Steve Malnight, a vice president of PG&E. They represent the amount of each type of renewable supply the utility already buys or has contracted to buy for California’s electricity supplies in order to meet the 33 percent goal for 2020.

And this is not to denigrate any of the other wonderful clean sources of renewable energy that will power a third of the sunny state of California by then.

Obviously, when a state goes to a 33 percent renewable standard (let alone one that does not even count large hydro or nuclear as renewable — which seems a little nitpicky to me) there is room for lots more wind and geothermal and bioenergy and small hydro – even if the percentage of these drop in relation to the incredible expansion of both kinds of solar.

I may be wrong, but I am pretty sure that California does not have a specific carve-out for solar, like states like New Jersey and nations like Morocco. Correct me if I’m wrong.


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