On Tuesday, ILSR Senior Researcher John Farrell was invited on the David Sirota Show on AM760 in Denver to talk about his article on Local Solar Could Power America in 2026. Click here to find the podcast from iTunes (Sirota Tuesday 10-25-11, Hour 3), the segment starts at 16:24. Continue reading
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Back for a second round, the Open Neighborhoods organization in Los Angeles has organized another group purchase of residential and commercial solar PV, bringing the cost of solar incredibly close to the cost of grid power. With grid prices constantly rising, the lifetime savings of going solar have never looked better.
The savings from the group purchase are enormous. With prices are around $4.40 per Watt installed for solar, Open Neighborhoods gets residential solar for $2.00 cheaper than the average prices reported by the Solar Energy Industries Association for the second quarter of 2011. That equates to a 6 cents per kilowatt-hour savings on solar over 25 years. Even with solar typically being cheaper in California, the group advertises savings of as much as 33% on a residential solar array.
The low group purchase price means that those who go solar will have cheaper electricity from their rooftop panels than average grid electricity by 2015. If the solar user is on a time-of-use pricing plan, they’ll already have cheaper electricity from solar than from their utility.
The following chart illustrates the comparison between the cost of power from a rooftop solar array purchased as part of this group buy versus grid electricity at a flat rate.
The results are promising and show that economies of scale can be achieved even with residential solar, if folks work together.
10/25/2011 – Christopher Mitchell sheds light on community networks and lobbying in Colorado in the Huffington Post. Longmont, Colorado has become ground zero for the battle over the future of access to the Internet. Because big cable and telephone companies have stopped us from having a real choice in Internet Service Providers and failed to… Continue reading
A few days ago NBC’s Meet the Press host David Gregory complained about Occupy Wall Street protestors “demonizing banks” and wondered, “Is this not a reverse tea party tactic?” Gregory is right. In many respects Occupy Wall Street (OWS) is indeed a mirror image of the Tea Party. To the Tea Party government is the… Continue reading
For the numerically inclined and because no series of posts should be complete on Energy Self-Reliant States without a chart, here’s the weekly site visits to Energy Self-Reliant States starting with our launch last October. We started slowly, but have been steadily piling on the new visits since early this year. The early summer drop can be blamed on the person pictured below.
The cause of our mid-summer slide:
We’re also getting more people to sign up for our weekly update email, and follow yours truly on Twitter.
Thanks again for a wonderful first year at Energy Self-Reliant States! Help us keep producing these great charts and great analysis of distributed renewable energy by donating!
I’ve shared the greatest hits on Energy Self-Reliant States from our first year, but we were honored to be invited to syndicate this blog at Grist, Renewable Energy World and CleanTechnica before the year was out. With a bit of time to revise before we re-published, the top 10 Greatest Syndicated Hits list differs a lot from the list of ones our direct readers selected:
- Busting 4 myths about CSP and PV – (140 comments on Renewable Energy World)
- Cost of nuclear, not Japan crisis, should scrub nuclear power - (78 comments on Grist)
- Want local communities to support wind? Put them in charge. – (94 tweets from Grist)
- Value of solar far exceeds its cost - (359 tweets from Grist)
- Concentrated solar power plants are all wet (the water use issue of concentrating solar power) - (91 comments on Grist, 100 tweets from CleanTechnica)
- Local solar could power the Mountain West right now, all of America in 2026 - (325 tweets, 29 comments on Grist; 1400 views and 140 tweets and 2,200 views at CleanTechnica)
- State Energy Self-Reliance Map – (2,300 views at CleanTechnica)
- Solving wind power variability with more wind – (85 tweets and 46 comments across multiple sites)
- New York City’s solar windfall illuminates America’s clean energy future – (over 100 tweets and 25 comments across multiple sites)
- Is the Bloom Box cheaper than solar? – (43 comments across multiple sites)
What articles did Energy Self-Reliant States readers like the most? Judging by page traffic, the best stories were those that highlighted the falling cost of solar and the value of local solar compared to other sources.
Here are the top 10 stories from our 1st year:
- Astonishingly Low Distributed Solar PV Prices from German Solar Policy
- Home Solar Cheaper Than Every Concentrating Solar Power Plant
- Distributed Solar Power Worth Far More Than Electrons
- Pricing CLEAN Contracts – feed-in tariffs – for Solar PV in the U.S.
- Why tax credits make lousy renewable energy policy
- Smaller Generation Incites Largest Renewable Energy Gains
- Distributed Solar PV Beats Grid Prices with “Balance of System” Cost Reductions
- Distributed, Small-Scale Solar Competes with Large-Scale PV
- Over 80 Percent of German PV Installed on Rooftops
- Centralized v. Decentralized Clean Energy – We May Have to Choose
Over the last year, we’ve published a number of reports that coalesce the analysis you see here into hard-hitting examinations of North American energy policy, always looking for the tools to best increase energy self-reliance. Here are the big ones:
Energy Self-Reliant States, 2nd Edition
This is the report that launched it all, an atlas to each state’s potential for maximizing renewable energy generation within its borders. The executive summary has been viewed over 23,000 times, and the report was featured in the New York Times Green Inc blog. The title map alone drew over 2,000 views on CleanTechnica earlier this year.
Maximizing Jobs From Clean Energy: Ontario’s ‘Buy Local’ Policy
Released in January, this report examined Ontario’s feed-in tariff program for financing renewable energy and its remarkable requirement that participating wind, solar, and other projects be largely “made in Ontario.” It made few friends in international trade circles, but provides the most robust connection between clean energy incentives and jobs in the world. The executive summary has been accessed over 2,500 times and the report has become even more relevant as Ontario’s liberal party – responsible for the policy – narrowly won re-election just last week.
This report provides the vision for the transition from a 20th century electricity system dominated by centralized electricity generation and centralized power of utilities to a decentralized, 21st century grid with distributed renewable energy widespread. Nearly 5,000 people have seen the report, which details the technical and economic value of distributed generation to the electricity system and the barriers and breakthroughs that will transform the grid to clean energy and more local ownership.
Starting with a few maps in a blog post, this short report packs in several data-rich maps explaining the cost of solar power by U.S. state, accounting for differences in solar resource, federal tax incentives, and the modest rate of return offered by CLEAN Contract Programs.
CLEAN v SRECs: Finding the More Cost-Effective Solar Policy
Just recently released, this report provides an in-depth analysis of the cost-effectiveness of two popular solar financing policies, CLEAN Contracts and solar REC markets. The report finds that the low risk and high transparency of CLEAN Contract Programs can lower the cost of solar by as much as 20 percent. The report also models the recently introduced New York Solar Jobs legislation, and finds that the 3% solar by 2025 goal would be met more cost-effectively with a CLEAN Contract Program.
Energy Self-Reliant States turns 1 year old today, and I wanted to take some space to share how thankful I am for your support of this project. If you’re reading this, you’re one of over 17,000 unique visitors to the site since we launched on Oct. 20, 2010.
If you like what you read, I encourage you to support this project financially. We’re mostly grant funded, but it’s a thin time for for-profits and non-profits alike, and I need your help convincing the boss that this is as good as writing 50-page reports.
How else can you celebrate 1 year of killer distributed generation analysis?
Check out the Highlights
Throughout the day I’ll post the highlights of Energy Self-Reliant States Year 1, including:
- our big reports
- the biggest stories
- what folks on the interwebs liked
- and a few site stats for the numerically inclined.
Sign Up, Like, or Subscribe
Tell Everyone You Know About Us
We tweet our own horn, but it’s recommendations from you that have made this site a hit. Let everyone know that this is the place for great charts and a strong commitment to energy self-reliant energy policy.