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800px-US_Navy_110803-N-UN340-067_A_view_of_solar_panels_recently_installed_on_the_roof_of_Space_and_Naval_Warfare_Systems_Command_Headquarters,_Old_Town
Featured Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Jun 5, 2014

Same Price, More Renewables. San Diego’s Fight for Community Choice – Episode 23 of Local Energy Rules

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/price-renewables-san-diegos-fight-community-choice-episode-23-local-energy-rules/

“San Diego and its community choice energy district would be able to offer a diverse energy mix with all of the solar, biodiesel, biogas, and energy storage resources that we have in San Diego.  A product that is price competitive and yet at the same time would strive for and achieve a higher level of… Continue reading

GET_en_2A15_renewables_in_the_hand_of_the_people
Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Jun 2, 2014

Citizen Ownership Remains Foundation of German Renewable Energy Explosion

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/citizen-ownership-remains-foundation-german-renewable-energy-explosion/

I’ve been posting updates on local ownership of renewable energy in Germany since early 2011, and it’s abundantly clear that the Germans have yet to back down from their commitment to democratic, locally owned power. The following chart continues the series.  For explanation, click the previous link, but know that traditional electric utilities are contained… Continue reading

sunset over river - satpal singh flickr
Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | 4 Comments | Updated on May 30, 2014

The Future of Solar Economics and Policy

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

Solar power is at a unique place in history. It’s growing rapidly, its price is falling precipitously. Within the next 10 years, it will compete favorably with utilities for electricity sales, on price, and without subsidies. Given its rapid ascent, it might seem silly to talk about change.  But the continued expansion of distributed solar… Continue reading

rooftop solar hawaii - shell vacations hospitality flickr
Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on May 23, 2014

Why is an Island Electric Utility Hindering Incredibly Cost-Effective Solar?

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/island-electric-utility-blocking-incredibly-cost-effective-solar/

The Northern Mariana Islands are one of several island U.S. territories, lying three-quarters of the way from Hawai’i to the Philippines. Like most islands, their electricity supply has been almost entirely supplied by diesel-fueled generators, at enormous cost. So why have islanders in the Marianas – such as the residents of Saipan – been struggling… Continue reading

midwest solar expo web version 2014-0516
Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on May 19, 2014

Midwest Solar Market: Hot or Not?

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/midwest-solar-market-hot-not/

Is solar ready to boom in the Midwest, or does poor policy still stand in the way? This presentation by Institute for Local Self-Reliance Director of Democratic Energy John Farrell to the Midwest Solar Expo on May 16, 2014, explores the potential, the economics, and the policy needed to help solar power the Midwest. Download… Continue reading

dive - flickr superfantastic
Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on May 15, 2014

A Deep Dive on Value of Solar and the Future of Solar Energy – Episode 22 of Local Energy Rules

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/deep-dive-solar-future-solar-energy-episode-22-local-energy-rules/

“Utility regulation and rates is a contact sport,” says Karl Rabago, and that makes the implementation of a new “value of solar” policy complex. Will distributed solar grow better with a transparent, value-based contract price? How does it differ from net metering? Is Minnesota’s law a precedent to follow? Prepare yourself for a deep dive… Continue reading

Logo: Local Bites Podcast
Resource filed under Banking, Independent Business | Written by Stacy Mitchell | No Comments | Updated on May 2, 2014

Stacy Mitchell on Local Bites Podcast (Audio)

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/stacy-mitchell-local-bites-podcast-audio/

ILSR’s Stacy Mitchell is interviewed on the Local Bites Podcast. She lays out the evidence against the growing consolidation of economic power in the hands of a few global corporations and exposes the policy decisions that have led us down this path. She highlights several promising initiatives from the growing localization movement, and outlines the key components of a ‘localist policy agenda’. Continue reading

solar panels palo alto - flickr user bike
Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on May 1, 2014

One City Utility is Carbon Neutral, Today – Episode 21 of Local Energy Rules

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/city-utility-carbon-neutral-today-episode-21-local-energy-rules/

It’s one thing to own your utility and have a commitment to renewable energy, but it’s another thing to deliver. The municipal utility in Palo Alto, CA, set an ambitious target of 33% renewable energy by 2015 and to ultimately deliver a carbon neutral electricity supply. They will reach 48% renewable power in 2017 and… Continue reading

community solar people cheering - BlackRockSolar flickr
Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | 2 Comments | Updated on Apr 22, 2014

Community Solar Gardens Sprouting in Minnesota

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/community-solar-gardens-sprouting-minnesota/

On April 7, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission resoundingly rejected (click the link for an annotated ruling) a severely lacking community solar gardens proposal from Xcel Energy and required substantial improvements for the utility’s revised filing. The regulatory smack-down means a promising community solar market for Minnesota (scroll down for the infographic version).    … Continue reading

KC Doyle
Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Apr 17, 2014

The Power of the Collective Energy Purchasing – Episode 20 of Local Energy Rules

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/power-of-collective-energy-purchasing-episode-20-local-energy-rules/

“We can’t do it as an individual, But four hundred communities aggregating and asking for local wind power and solar power – that’s really powerful.” Oak Park, IL, is one of hundreds of Illinois towns using their authority to buy electricity in bulk on behalf of its residential and small business customers. So far, most… Continue reading

Photo: neighborhood business
Featured Article, Resource filed under Banking, Independent Business | Written by Stacy Mitchell | No Comments | Updated on Apr 16, 2014

Understanding the Small Business Credit Crunch

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/understanding-small-business-credit-crunch/

Even as their big competitors are awash in capital, many locally owned businesses are struggling to secure the financing they need to grow. A new ILSR analysis has found that, since 2000, bank lending to large businesses is up 36 percent, while small business loan volume has fallen 14 percent and “micro” business loans — those under $100,000 — have plummeted 33 percent. Continue reading

Graph: Change in Volume of Bank Loans to Businesses, by Loan Size, 2000-2012
Resource filed under Banking, Independent Business | Written by Stacy Mitchell | No Comments | Updated on Apr 15, 2014

Change in Volume of Bank Loans to Businesses, by Loan Size, 2000-2012

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/change-volume-bank-loans-businesses-loan-size-2000-2012/

Since 2000, the overall volume of business lending per capita at banks has grown by 26 percent, but this expansion has entirely benefited large businesses. Small business loan volume at banks is down 14 percent and micro business loan volume is down 33 percent. Continue reading

aib-sba-loans-graph
Resource filed under Banking | Written by Stacy Mitchell | No Comments | Updated on Apr 15, 2014

SBA Loans Decrease in Number, Double in Size

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/sba-loans-decrease-number-double-size/

Over the last few years, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has dramatically reduced its support for smaller small businesses and shifted more of its loan guarantees to larger small businesses. Continue reading

john farrell presenting at electrons on the run 2014
Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Apr 10, 2014

How Democratic Energy Fits the Rural Electric Philosophy

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/democratic-energy-fits-rural-electric-philosophy/

The following presentation was given by ILSR’s Director of Democratic Energy John Farrell at the Electrons on the Run mini-conference in Alexandria, MN, on March 12, 2014.  The presentation illustrates how distributed renewable energy in the 21st century fits the rural electric utility philosophy of self-reliance and local economic development, just as providing local electricity… Continue reading

future of solar presentation cover
Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | 10 Comments | Updated on Apr 9, 2014

An Enormous Question for ‘Solar Choice’

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

Two weeks ago, Minnesota’s Public Utilities Commission ratified the first-ever statewide policy for setting a fair and transparent price on solar energy. This week, a coalition of companies that provide leasing contracts for solar to home and business customers declared war on this “value of solar” policy, and pretty much every financial model for compensating… Continue reading