Back to top Jump to featured resources

Viewing all Articles Page 165 of 287

Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | 3 Comments | Updated on Jan 13, 2011

Home Solar Cheaper Than Every Concentrating Solar Power Plant

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/home-solar-cheaper-every-concentrating-solar-power-plant/

A residential rooftop solar PV system in Los Angeles, CA, has a cheaper cost per kilowatt-hour of electricity delivered than the most cost effective, utility-scale concentrating solar power plant. 

In 2010, a buying group called Open Neighborhoods openly advertised an opportunity to get a solar PV system installed for $4.78 per Watt (not including any tax credits, rebates, or grants), a system that would produce approximately 1,492 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year (AC) for each kilowatt of capacity (DC). 

Based on the best available public information about the costs and performance of operational concentrating solar thermal power plants, the PS10 solar power tower – an 11 MW installation in Spain – has the lowest levelized cost of operation of any concentrating solar power plant that produces electricity.  PS10 had an installed cost of $4.15 per Watt and produces 2,127 kWh per kW of capacity. 

However, due to higher operations costs and a higher cost of capital (8% rather than 5%) for a concentrating solar power plant, the levelized cost of the residential rooftop system (17.3 cents per kWh) is less than that of the power tower (19.9 cents per kWh).

This analysis also does not include any transmission infrastructure or efficiency losses, either of which would increase the levelized cost of the concentrating solar power plant.  It also did not include the lower price point from Open Neighborhoods, which advertised a possibility of driving the price down to $4.22 per Watt (driving the levelized cost down to 15.3 cents per kWh).

The Southern California Edison project, also featured in the chart, is another example of low-cost distributed solar PV, with the 250 MW project spread across commercial rooftops in 1-2 MW increments but still achieving large scale. 

Ultimately, this data further confirms that distributed solar can be delivered less expensively than centralized solar power. 

Continue reading

university park church comm solar_0
Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Jan 12, 2011

Discussion: Why Policy Matters for Distributed Generation and Why DG is More Than Electricity

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/discussion-why-policy-matters-distributed-generation-and-why-dg-more-electricity/

I received an email this morning from a thoughtful fellow who had read some of the posts I’ve sent over to Renewable Energy World. His perspective is worth sharing because it highlights the all-too-common tunnel vision we can get about renewable energy as only about electricity. I believe the distributed energy model will be the… Continue reading

Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Jan 11, 2011

Federal Solar Tax Credits Rule Out Half of Americans

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/federal-solar-tax-credits-rule-out-half-americans/

The difference between clean energy policies with a democratizing influence and the bewildering U.S. system can be illustrated with a close look at the federal investment tax credit for solar power.  The investment tax credit returns up to 30% of a solar PV system value to the developer, and the credit can be carried over… Continue reading

onthecommons.png
Article filed under The Public Good | Written by David Morris | No Comments | Updated on Jan 10, 2011

Once We Insisted On Civility: Reflections on Tucson

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/once-we-insisted-civility-reflections-tucson/

In the wake of the murders in Tucson, our leaders once again are calling for civility in public discourse. We forget that for almost 40 years we didn’t have to plead for civility. We demanded it. The story of how we did so, and why we stopped, illuminates the intersection of politics and culture. At the dawn of the broadcasting era, the government declared that the airwaves belonged to the public and fashioned rules to protect the public interest protect the public interest. Continue reading

ontario turbine.jpg
Article, ILSR Press Room filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Jan 10, 2011

American States Can Learn Much From Ontario’s “Buy Local” Clean Energy Strategy

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/american-states-can-learn-much-ontarios-buy-local-clean-energy-strategy/

The Canadian province of Ontario has launched a clean energy strategy to maximize economic development while reducing pollution.  Maximizing Jobs From Clean Energy: Ontario’s ‘Buy Local’ Policy, a new report from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, details how Ontario’s bold clean energy program – in just over a year – has resulted in the promise of 43,000 clean energy jobs in support of 5,000 MW of clean energy projects.  Continue reading

ontario turbine
Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Jan 7, 2011

Maximizing Jobs From Clean Energy: Ontario’s ‘Buy Local’ Policy

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/maximizing-jobs-clean-energy-ontarios-buy-local-policy/

Ontario’s bold renewable energy program contains excellent examples of policy that marries economic and environmental goals.  Unique among programs that set a guaranteed price for electricity from renewable energy projects, Ontario’s program also boasts a domestic content requirement.  Sixty percent of the value of wind and solar projects interconnected under the program must be sourced… Continue reading

Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by admin | No Comments | Updated on Jan 7, 2011

John Farrell Talks Economies of Scale on the RenewableEnergyWorld Podcast

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/john-farrell-talks-economies-scale-renewableenergyworld-podcast/

The title of the link won’t give it away, but I was interviewed on Stephen Lacey’s most recent REW podcast on superconducting technology for transmission.  He generously provided me some time to contrast the lead topic (centralized renewable energy reliant on transmission) with the economics of distributed renewable energy sources. Continue reading

FHFA1.png
Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Jan 6, 2011

Update on PACE Financing for the Residential Sector

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/update-pace-financing-residential-sector/

Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing, a promising tool to advance energy efficiency, was blocked nationwide by the opposition of the Federal Housing Finance Agency.  In this post we get a status report from Renewable Funding’s, Cisco DeVries, on what’s happening in the courts with various parties suing the FHFA.  He also gives us an update on what’s happening on the on the ground with PACE financing for the commercial sector which is alive and expanding.

View the full post over at our EnergySelfReliantStates.org blog.

Continue reading

Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | 1 Comment | Updated on Jan 5, 2011

Solar PV Costs – Does State Market Size Matter?

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/solar-pv-costs-does-state-market-size-matter/

Before the holidays we posted a chart illustrating the average cost of solar by state, highlighting Minnesota’s claim to the most expensive solar PV in the nation.  The data came from the brilliant report, Tracking the Sun III: The Installed Cost of Photovoltaics in the U.S. from 1998-2009 (large pdf). 

But are solar costs high in some states simply because the market is small?  The answer seems to be no.

The following chart illustrates the average cost of solar PV by state, mapped against the total installed capacity (in megawatts) from 2007-09.  California is omitted because its 1600 MW of new capacity dwarfs other state markets; Colorado, Hawaii, and North Carolina were not included in the original dataset.  The markers for Oregon and Connecticut were shaded blue and red, respectively, to help distinguish them from surrounding states. 

What’s clear from the data is that there seems to be little relationship between market size and average installed costs.  Texas installed 16 MW at an average cost of $7.00 over the three years analyzed, whereas New York and Nevada had costs 25% higher in markets five times the size.  And five states with markets 10 MW and smaller had costs ranging from $7.60 (New Hampshire) to $9.10 per Watt (Minnesota).  The largest markets in New Jersey and California tie for 5th lowest cost, 10% more expensive than the least expensive market despite being (in California’s case) two orders of magnitude larger. 

The data leave a lot of questions.  Why don’t larger markets uniformly have lower prices?  Why is there such large variation in costs in smaller solar market states?  And how does state solar policy matter, when there is no correlation between the total value of state incentives and the before-incentive installed cost of solar?

Update 1/20/11: a cacophony of different permitting rules may be partially responsible.  The solar industry estimates that permitting costs add $2,500 to each solar installation.

Continue reading

Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Jan 5, 2011

An update on PACE financing

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/update-pace-financing/

This update is from an email sent by Renewable Funding’s Cisco DeVries, outlining the hopes for PACE in 2011:

Litigation Moves Forward.  The first Court orders regarding elements of the PACE lawsuits were issued by Judge Claudia Wilken on December 20th.  The orders cover Sonoma County’s request for a preliminary injunction and the Court’s desire for the US Department of Justice to weigh in.  The court has not yet made any decisions on the motions. However, while the judge stated that she was not inclined to require FHFA to affirmatively support PACE at this early stage of the case, she indicated that she was considering whether to order Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) to begin a formal rulemaking process regarding PACE. We will certainly pass along any more information as it develops so that the PACE community can be ready to provide detailed comments.  You can also check the www.PACENOW.org website for updates.

Legislation Moves Forward.  While Congress did not take action on the PACE legislation that was introduced in 2010, work is continuing to prepare for the next session.  There are plans for new, bi-partisan, PACE legislation to be introduced early in the year.  Will send another update when this moves forward.

Commercial PACE Moves Forward.  While residential PACE has mostly (but not entirely) been put on hold, a number of jurisdictions are moving forward with commercial programs.  For example, Boulder County recently issued its first bond for commercial PACE and will now be funding the first 29 projects. Sonoma County continues to fund commercial projects and Los Angeles and Washington, DC are just two of the communities planning commercial programs in the new year.  To assist with this effort, the US Department of Energy just released a section of their “Finance Guide” (see chapter 13, drafted by Renewable Funding) to assist communities with designing commercial PACE programs.  Lastly, a report from the Clinton Climate Initiative, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Renewable Funding on existing and planned programs will be out soon.

PACENOW Hires Executive Director. PACENOW hired David Gabrielson as its new Executive Director.  David has extensive experience in public finance at leading firms such as CS First Boston and JP Morgan and is also a town councilman in Bedford, NY, where he worked to establish an energy efficiency and renewable energy financing program using PACE.  He has given the PACENOW website a facelift – check it out.  You can reach him directly at david.pacenow@gmail.com. 

Continue reading