Solar at night in CA, 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.

larger scale battery installations


It is interesting how much less hydro power was generated in 2021.