In the United States, renewable energy only accounts for about 1% of the total energy produced. But in California, a different story is unfolding.
Last month on March 11th, California hit a major solar power goal: 50% of the states electricity was produced by solar over a 3 hour window.
Large scale power plants accounted for about 40% of the solar power produced, but the real encouraging number is the other 10%; that power came from distributed solar, like on the roofs of homes and businesses.
The most revolutionary thing about solar energy isn’t the fact that, like magic, you can turn sunlight into electricity. It’s that it can be distributed. Centralized production of power, while likely still important to future power grids, isn’t the only way to produce power anymore.
Some argue that 50% for a single day isn’t all that impressive. How do you go fully renewable when the sun sets and wind dies down? Like most things in life, it’s complicated. But this is still encouraging news.
California has an aggressive goal of receiving 50% of its energy from renewable sources by 2030. So even reaching that goal for one day in 2017 shows they are, without a doubt, on track to meet that goal.
Improving technology not just for solar panels and wind turbines, but for storage capabilities as well, puts the goal of a 100% renewable energy grid well within reach. It’s only a matter of time.