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rooftop solar LA - Mike Spasoff flickr
Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | 4 Comments | Updated on Oct 21, 2014

We Have “Value for Solar,” but Should We Use It?

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

Earlier this year, Minnesota became the first state to formalize dozens of studies by adopting a “value of solar” formula that would fundamentally change the relationship between solar energy producers and their utility. It’s designed to have the utility accurately compensate solar energy producers for the value of solar electricity to the utility, its customers,… Continue reading

residential solar and power plant capacity 2013.003
Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Oct 16, 2014

2 Charts Show Solar’s Jump to Top Spot for New U.S. Power Generation

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/2-charts-show-solars-jump-top-spot-u-s-power-generation/

Want proof that distributed solar is rapidly growing?  Look no further than these two charts, showing how solar provided over a quarter of new power plant capacity in 2013 (6% from residential solar alone!) and 43% in the first half of this year! This article originally posted at ilsr.org. For timely updates, follow John Farrell on… Continue reading

grassroots -  Daniel Schroeder flickr
Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Sep 19, 2014

Solar and the New (democratic) Energy Economy

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

I spent three days this week with some of the biggest minds behind the “new economy” movement because their core theme – economic democracy – fits like a glove over ILSR’s work on democratic energy. The big takeaway? Solar power is the spark to energize a new energy economy from the bottom up. This new… Continue reading

trojan nuclear power plant - flickr tobin
Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | 6 Comments | Updated on Sep 11, 2014

Minnesota Nuclear Plant Cost Overruns Show Shortcomings of Large Scale Power Generation

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/minnesota-nuclear-plant-cost-overruns-highlight-risk-centralized-climate-solutions/

With the rich history of cost overruns in the nuclear industry, Xcel Energy and Minnesota regulators probably shouldn’t have been surprised when the retrofit cost to the Monticello nuclear power plant ballooned to more than twice the original estimate late last year. Regulators are asking tough questions about whether the cost overruns are the responsibility… Continue reading

courtroom - flickr  Clyde Robinson
Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Aug 7, 2014

Can PUCs Lead on Distributed Renewable Energy?

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

If you’re like most renewable energy advocates that have interacted with a Public Utilities Commission, you probably don’t think they’re a repository of progressive policy toward distributed renewable energy.  In general, you’re right. But it’s worth sharing a few, promising examples of Public Utilities Commissions around the U.S. that are actually making things better for… Continue reading

solar and flag - flickr Deval Patrick
Featured Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Jul 2, 2014

Celebrate Independence with 3 Steps Toward Energy Self-Reliance

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/celebrate-independence-3-steps-energy-self-reliance/

Being from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, I’m often asked, “You want everyone off-grid and independent with their own solar array and a battery, right?” In a word, no. But our mission of economic and energy self-reliance has several similarities to the kind of (economic) independence being sought by England’s American colonists in the 1770s and… Continue reading

solar panel and smiling people - USAID flickr
Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | 2 Comments | Updated on Jun 16, 2014

Forget Utility 2.0, Let’s Talk Energy Ownership 2.0

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/forget-utility-2-0-talk-energy-ownership-2-0/

The transformation taking place in the electricity system is enormous, but twofold. But most commentators – including the former FERC chair – miss half the opportunity when they fixate on the inevitable technological rather than the more fundamental economic transformation. The 20th century electric grid was characterized by two centralized components. The technology of power… Continue reading

will value of solar work for solar producers slide
Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Jun 13, 2014

Webinar: 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/webinar-minnesotas-solar/

What is “the value of solar” electricity? How can it be used in energy policy? And how does it differ from other policies that govern the deployment of distributed solar power? Listen in to this 30-minute webinar presentation (and 30-minute Q&A) to learn about Minnesota’s recently enacted value of solar policy, how it may work for… 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