• Giant farms of photovoltaic panels, including Warren Buffett’s Topaz array in California, are changing power flows in the electrical grid, challenging hydro and conventional generators and creating negative prices on sunny days.
  • Solar capacity surged 30 percent in 2014 to more than 20 gigawatts and will more than double by the end of 2016, according to the Washington-based Solar Energy Industries Association. That’s enough to power 7.6 million U.S. homes, up from 360,000 in 2009.
  • Even with the rapid growth, solar still accounts for less than 1 percent of total U.S. power production, behind coal, natural gas, oil, nuclear and hydroelectric, according to the government’s Energy Information Administration. Because output suffers on cloudy or hazy days, grid operators have to keep conventional plants on standby.

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