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How Effective Is California at Generating Solar Power?

California's state motto is "Eureka," which means "I found it," but in the wake of some recent generosity, it might want to add on the words, "and I gave some of it away." Known for its sunny climate, California is also smart and innovative, so incorporating solar power into its energy grid was a no-brainer. However, with fossil fuels continuing to reign supreme, it has been nearly impossible to actually use all of the solar power that the Golden State produces. Under these circumstances, California has had little choice but to give energy away to neighboring states, like Arizona. In fact, the sudden glut of additional energy has sometimes put California's power lines in danger of overloading, so the state has even paid its neighbors to take some of the extra energy off its hands. Residents of those other states reap the benefits of the free energy in the form of lower utility bills.

Soaking up the sunshine:

  • The price of solar panels has dropped by approximately 99 percent since 1977, and they now last up to 40 years, with almost no maintenance.
  • As of 2019, the United States boasts more than 2 million solar power installations; it is expected to reach 4 million in the next four years.
  • In 2016, a Swiss pilot flew the first totally solar-powered plane around the world.

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