Rooftop solar panels are flooding California’s grid. That’s a problem. –

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As electricity prices go negative, the Golden State is struggling to offload a glut of solar power

In sunny California, solar panels are everywhere. They sit in dry, desert landscapes in the Central Valley and are scattered over rooftops in Los Angeles’s urban center. By last count, the state had nearly 47 gigawatts of solar power installed – enough to power 13.9 million homes and provide over a quarter of the Golden State’s electricity.

But now, the state and its grid operator are grappling with a strange reality: There is so much solar on the grid that, on sunny spring days when there’s not as much demand, electricity prices go negative. Gigawatts of solar are “curtailed” – essentially, thrown away.

In response, California has cut back incentives for rooftop solar and slowed the pace of installing panels. But the diminishing economic returns may slow the development of solar in a state that has tried to move to renewable energy. And as other states build more and more solar plants of their own, they may soon face the same problems.

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