The Battery That Could Solve California’s Excess Solar Problem

Right now, California has too much of a good thing when it comes to solar power.

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Almost every day California is breaking records around how much solar power the state is generating. One one day in March, the state generated enough power to account for 50% of electricity needs.

That should be good news but it’s actually proving to be a problem. Because all solar energy is generated during the day, the state is actually producing more solar power than it can use before the sun goes down, so it’s being forced to pay some other states to take that excess energy off of California’s hands or risk disturbing the delicate balance of supply and demand that keeps the electricity grid in working order.

The solution to this problem is giant batteries that can store energy during the day and release it at night. But so far, battery technology is not up to the challenge. Check out this podcast from Planet Money to learn more about how new kinds of batteries could eventually help California continue to generate lots of solar power.