Can solar power save the day in California this summer?

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Report summary

The natural gas leak that occurred at the Aliso Canyon gas storage facility (Aliso Canyon) in Southern California earlier this year means Aliso Canyon will probably not be available to meet any peak natural gas needs for the remainder of the year at a minimum. The outage may limit the ability of some gas-fired generators in the Los Angeles basin to operate during up to 16 days this summer. The California ISO (CAISO) assigns high capacity value to solar generators, and expedited deployment of new solar has been proposed as one way to help mitigate the loss of Aliso Canyon. In this Insight Wood Mackenzie provides our own analysis indicating that solar capacity value is much lower than CAISO assumes. Peak day analysis also shows that additional solar will do little to reduce peak hourly gas demand. However, new solar may help offset the Aliso Canyon outage by reducing gas-fired generation earlier in the day, thus making that gas available when hourly gas-fired generation peaks.

What's included

This report contains

  • Document

    Can solar power save the day in California this summer?

    PDF 551.71 KB

Table of contents

  • Key Takeaways
  • Background and Introduction
  • CAISO’s Solar NQC Estimates
  • Wood Mackenzie’s 2016 Solar NQC Analysis
  • Peak Demand Day Analysis and Alison Canyon Implications
  • Conclusions

Tables and charts

This report includes 3 images and tables including:


  • 2016 Solar NQC Estimates for the California ISO System
  • CAISO 9/10/2015 Hourly Generation with Solar Adjusted to 2016 Levels


  • California ISO 2016 Monthly Solar NQC Factors (%)

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