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Featured Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | 5 Comments | Updated on Apr 9, 2014

Minnesota’s Value of Solar

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

In March 2014, Minnesota became the first state to adopt a “value of solar” policy. It may fundamentally change the financial relationship between electric utilities and their energy-producing customers. It may also serve as a precedent for setting a transparent, market-based price for solar energy. This report explains the origins of value of solar, the compromises made to get the policy adopted in Minnesota, and the potential impact on utilities and solar energy producers.

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Read our blog series on Minnesota’s value of solar

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The Value Of Solar Concept
comparison of net metering and value of solar in MinnesotaThe basic concept behind value of solar is that utilities should pay a transparent and market-based price for solar energy. The value of solar energy is based on:

  • Avoiding the purchase of energy from other, polluting sources
  • Avoiding the need to build additional power plant capacity to meet peak energy needs
  • Providing energy for decades at a fixed price
  • Reducing wear and tear on the electric grid, including power lines, substations, and power plants

Value of solar is not like net metering, where producing energy reduces your electricity bill just like turning off a light. Fig. A illustrates the difference between net metering and value of solar in Minnesota. It also highlights a few key features of the adopted value of solar policy, including the 25-year contract, and the use of bill credits rather than a separate cash payment.

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Featured Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Mar 26, 2014

Energy Storage: The Next Charge for Distributed Energy

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

Energy storage promises to change the electricity system during the next decade, as fundamentally as distributed renewable energy has in the last decade. A new report from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, Energy Storage: The Next Charge for Distributed Energy, forecasts where the battleground is shaping up. The report also details promising examples of local… Continue reading

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Featured Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | 3 Comments | Updated on Mar 13, 2014

Could Minnesota’s “Value of Solar” Make Everyone a Winner?

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

On Wednesday, Minnesota became the first state to allow utilities a new method of contracting with distributed solar producers, called the market-based “value of solar.” If adopted by utilities, it will fundamentally change the relationship between solar-producing customers and their electric utility. Following Minnesota’s Value of Solar Process? Here are a few resources: Part 1… Continue reading

state policy battlegrounds over net metering and distributed generation 2014-0321
Featured Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Mar 19, 2014

Distributed Renewable Energy Under Fire

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

I developed this map as a side project while I was working on explaining the value of solar and its potential role in addressing conflicts between utilities and customers over distributed renewable energy like solar. I’ve received several updates since it was originally published, so here’s the updated map. For some context on the contention… Continue reading

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Featured Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | 1 Comment | Updated on Feb 4, 2014

Show Me Solar: Parity, Value, and Opportunity for Solar Power

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

What can solar power do for a single state? How about 21% of its energy, $14 billion in economic activity, and over 150,000 jobs. At a discount to existing electricity costs. Without subsidies. ILSR’s Director of Democratic Energy, John Farrell, shared this message with the Missouri Solar Energy Industries Association on Feb. 1, 2014 in… Continue reading