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Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Mar 13, 2012

Minnesota Electricity Could Be 100% Renewable, 100% Local

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

A new report released today by the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research shows that Minnesota can meet 100% of its electricity needs with in-state wind and solar power, and (with ample energy efficiency investments) at a comparable cost to its existing electricity supply. The notion that solar and wind energy cannot be the mainstay… Continue reading

Cost of Distributed Solar versus Centralized Solar Power
Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Feb 24, 2012

Distributed Generation Hits Sweet Spot in Cost v. Transmission

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/distributed-generation-hits-sweet-spot-in-cost-v-transmission/

Update 3/27/12: added clarification to text and chart that prices include federal tax incentives If the cost of electricity were the only factor in energy discussions, we’d probably have a lot more coal and a lot less renewable energy.  But the truth is that renewable energy can compete on cost and distributed renewable energy has… Continue reading

Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Feb 23, 2012

German Policy Could Make Solar in America “Wunderbar”

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

This post was originally titled Residential Solar for $2.24 per Watt in Germany? The Germans are debating significant revisions to their landmark renewable energy policy, and instead of declaring the death of the German solar market, Americans should focus on why solar still costs so much on this side of the Atlantic. After a significant… Continue reading

Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Feb 23, 2012

Residential Solar for $2.24 per Watt in Germany?

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/residential-solar-2-24-watt-germany/

The Germans have proposed significant revisions to their landmark renewable energy policy, the feed-in tariff, and the proposed prices should make Americans wonder why solar still costs so much on this side of the Atlantic. After a significant step-down in March, German utilities will be buying rooftop solar on long-term contracts from projects 10 kilowatts… Continue reading

U.S. Installed Solar PV Capacity 2004-2011
Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | 1 Comment | Updated on Feb 2, 2012

How Distributed Solar Can Reduce Electricity Prices

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/how-distributed-solar-can-reduce-electricity-prices/

What if installing more solar could reduce electricity prices? It’s already happening in Germany, world leader in solar power, and it’s likely to happen in the U.S., too. Continue reading

Sundial
Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | 1 Comment | Updated on Feb 1, 2012

Electricity Priced by the Hour Boosts Distributed Solar Value by a Third or More

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

Updated 2/1/12 because I underestimated how the tiered pricing worked.  Thanks to bkarney at Renewable Energy World for the comment. Last week I wrote about the time-of-use pricing scheme that PG&E offers in San Francisco, and how solar power is worth 14% more compared to a standard flat-rate electricity plan.  In reality, it’s 36% or… Continue reading

Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Jan 20, 2012

Distributed Renewable Energy as the 3rd Industrial Revolution

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/distributed-renewable-energy-3rd-industrial-revolution/

I just came across an interesting interview that radio host Diane Rehm did with Jeremy Rifkin, author of The Third Industrial Revolution.  The excerpts below lay out his vision for an energy future that is decentralized and democratized. (He also notes that this vision has just emerged in the past two to four years, but we’ve been around since 1974…).

The book is organized around five pillars of the third industrial revolution:

Pillar one, renewable energy. Pillar two, your buildings become your own power plants. Pillar three, you have to store it with hydrogen. And then Pillar four…the internet communication revolution completely merges with new distributing energies to create a nervous system…Pillar five is electric plug-in transport…

when distributed Internet communication starts to organize distributed energies, we have a very powerful third industrial revolution that could change everything…

You can find some renewable energy in every square inch of the world. So how do we collect them? … If renewable energies are found in every square inch of the world in some frequency or proportion, why would we only collect them in a few central points? …

[it] jump starts the European economy, that’s the idea. Millions and millions and millions of jobs. Thousands of small and medium-sized enterprises have to convert 190 million buildings to power plants over the next 40 years…

That’s the vision: a decentralized energy system can be democratized with local ownership, spreading the production of energy and the economic benefits as widely as the renewable energy resource itself.

 

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Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Jan 17, 2012

Should Solar Grid Parity Include Tax Credits?

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/should-solar-grid-parity-include-tax-credits/

In recent weeks, I wrote a Solar Grid Parity 101 and published an animated map of the year when major U.S. metro areas will reach solar grid parity.  The most frequent criticism was “you didn’t include tax incentives!” 

Yes, there is a 30% federal tax credit on the table until 2016 (barring Republican control of Congress and the White House) and it makes a substantial difference. Mouse over the following map to see the impact of the federal Investment Tax Credit on solar grid parity in 2016.

 

Solar Grid Parity

 

My one thought: if the ITC expires as scheduled, the 2017 map will have a lot more red than the 2016 one if we measure grid parity with incentives.

But you’ve seen the difference (from 3 states to 21 states with grid parity!), now vote in the comments:

Should the tax credit be included in a calculation of grid parity? Why or why not?

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Advanced Electric Meter
Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | 1 Comment | Updated on Jan 12, 2012

How Electricity Pricing Can Boost Distributed Solar – Part 1

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/how-electricity-pricing-can-boost-distributed-solar-part-1-0/

Note: This is a revision of the same post from last week, with an updated time-of-use pricing plan from Los Angeles. What if electricity cost more when the sun was shining? Many utilities are using new electronic “smart meters” to adjust the price of electricity as often as every 15 minutes, to reflect supply and… Continue reading

chart-2
Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | 1 Comment | Updated on Jan 11, 2012

Democratic energy policy means strong public support for renewables

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/democratic-energy-policy-means-strong-public-support-renewables/

Conducted by market research institute Forsa on behalf of municipal utilities in Germany, the survey found that 61 percent of Germans are willing to pay more for their power if the extra cost helps ramp up the share of renewables. Public acceptance even extends to acceptance of wind turbines “in my backyard”; 54 percent of those surveyed said they would find it “good” or “very good” if a wind turbine were set up nearby.

That’s the German feed-in tariff at work…

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