By Solar Industry Magazine

jerry brownCalifornia Gov. Jerry Brown has pledged to expand his state’s commitment to clean energy, setting forth a goal to generate 50 percent of electricity from renewable sources by 2030.

Brown was sworn in for a fourth term as governor. He used the occasion of this state of the state speech to outline ambitious clean energy priorities for the future, including significant expansion of rooftop solar.

“I envision a wide range of initiatives: More distributed power, expanded rooftop solar, microgrids, an energy imbalance market, battery storage, the full integration of information technology and electrical distribution and millions of electric and low-carbon vehicles,” Brown said during his address.

California currently has a requirement to generate 33 percent of its electricity from renewable sources in the next 15 years. The new proposal is part of a three-point plan to reduce carbon emissions. The other components are a goal to cut petroleum use by 50 percent and double the efficiency of existing buildings.

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Some industry observers caution that a 50 percent renewable portfolio standard could pose challenges for grid operators and have unforeseen consequences for solar power generators, notably involving possible curtailment. However, many solar advocates welcomed Brown’s overall goals.

“With the help of increased storage, the evolution of advanced inverter and smart grid technologies, and the increased investment in solar water-heating technologies, solar power can play a significant role in building the carbon-free California envisioned by the governor,” says Bernadette Del Chiaro, executive director of the California Solar Energy Industries Association.