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Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Dec 17, 2010

The Fragmentation of American Energy Policy

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/fragmentation-american-energy-policy/

Last week was a tough one for distributed solar markets in several states, as a remarkable number of renewable energy incentive programs hit their budget or capacity caps, or are shrinking in scope: San Diego Gas & Electric’s allocation of non-residential solar incentives under the California Solar Initiative ran out. The Los Angeles municipal utility… Continue reading

Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Dec 16, 2010

We’re Number 1 – Minnesota Boasts Most Expensive Solar PV in Nation

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/were-number-1-minnesota-boasts-most-expensive-solar-pv-nation/

From page 19 of the brilliant report, Tracking the Sun III: The Installed Cost of Photovoltaics in the U.S. from 1998-2009 (large pdf).

It’s worth noting that this has nothing to do with the state’s solar resources.  This is the upfront cost to install the modules.  The difference in cost of solar electricity is likely even more severe since many of the least expensive states also have better sun. 

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Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Dec 16, 2010

A Blueprint for a 100% Renewable Utah

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/blueprint-100-renewable-utah/

The Healthy Environment Alliance of Utah just released the eUtah Blueprint illustrating how Utah could reduce carbon emissions from the electricity sector by 95% by 2050 and could meet electricity demand reliably with a combination of wind, solar, geothermal, and compressed air storage (with some natural gas backups).  The report – written by Arjun Makhijani… Continue reading

Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Dec 16, 2010

Change in Tax Credit Policy Drives 24% Drop in Residential Solar Price

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/change-tax-credit-policy-drives-24-drop-residential-solar-price/

Update: It’s important to note that this refers to the net installed cost.  In other words, the installed cost dropped because residential solar customers were now getting an uncapped federal tax credit. We wrote in this 2009 report about the perverse problems created by the $2,000 cap on the federal residential solar tax credit.  The… Continue reading

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Article filed under Independent Business | Written by Stacy Mitchell | 3 Comments | Updated on Dec 16, 2010

What New Census Data Show about the State of Independent Retail

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/what-new-census-data-show-about-state-independent-retail/

The good news is that overall sales at independent retailers grew by about 4 percent. The bad news is that chains grew faster and independents still lost market share, falling from 31 to 28 percent of retail spending. That decline in market share, however, was considerably slower in this five-year period than the preceding 20 years. Digging deeper into the new data, we found a number of interesting trends. Continue reading

Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Dec 15, 2010

Michigan the 24th State with a PACE Law, Will It Matter?

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/michigan-24th-state-pace-law-will-it-matter/

Yesterday Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm signed the state’s Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) law, making Michigan the 24th state to enable cities and counties to provide financing for on-site renewable energy and energy efficiency improvements via the property tax system. But it’s unclear how many municipalities will move ahead given the roadblocks facing residential PACE… Continue reading

Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Dec 14, 2010

Distributed Solar Power, Analyzed

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/distributed-solar-power-analyzed/

Yesterday we discussed the spread of solar carports in California, highlighting the Milpitas School District’s 14 distributed solar PV arrays.  According to a news story, the district anticipates savings of $12 million over 25 years from the projects, which were financed by a power purchase agreement with Chevron Energy Solutions.  But would the district have… Continue reading

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Article, ILSR Press Room filed under Independent Business | Written by admin | 5 Comments | Updated on Dec 14, 2010

Five Ideas from Detroit

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

A couple of weeks ago I was invited to spend a day in Detroit meeting with local entrepreneurs and sharing ideas for spurring small business development. I came away feeling that Detroit has quite a bit to teach the rest of us about how to build a local economy from the ground up. Continue reading

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Article filed under The Public Good | Written by David Morris | No Comments | Updated on Dec 14, 2010

Obama vs. FDR on Social Security

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/obama-vs-fdr-social-security/

Today, 75 years and 4 months since Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act, a Democratic president is ignoring his wisdom and abandoning his strategy for protecting the program from shifting political winds. If congressional Democrats go along with Obama on this, it could mark the beginning of the end of Social Security as we have known it. Continue reading

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Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Dec 13, 2010

Distributed Solar Power, Illustrated

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/distributed-solar-power-illustrated/

With environmental (e.g. desert tortoise) and political (NIMBY) questions raised about centralized renewable energy generation, it’s worth noting that we can generate a lot of power by covering already developed spaces.  See California, where solar PV arrays cover parking lots, providing peak power and soothing shade for the shielded vehicles underneath. Not only are these… Continue reading