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Wildfire smoke slashes solar energy production in California

(Reuters, 30 Sep 2020) Fires in California have burned over 3.8 million acres since January, far exceeding any single year in state history.

Smoke from wildfires in California slashed the state's solar energy by nearly a third earlier this month because miniscule airborne particles reduced the amount of sunlight reaching panels, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

In the first two weeks of September, average solar generation in the California Independent System Operator, which covers 90% of utility-scale solar capacity in the state, declined nearly 30% from the July average, EIA said.

Compared with the same period last year, solar generation fell 13.4% in the first two weeks of September despite California having added 659 megawatts of utility solar, an increase of more than 5%.

California has more solar capacity than any other U.S. state. In 2018, solar provided 19% of the state's electricity generation, according to EIA.

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Reuters, 30 Sep 2020: Wildfire smoke slashes solar energy production in California