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5 gigs municipal solar
Featured Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by Rebecca Toews | No Comments | Updated on May 29, 2015

Coming Soon! Public Rooftop Revolution Report

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

There are a lot of stories on rooftop solar (and a great report on how cities enable solar), but few have examined how cities are using solar on their own buildings and property to make themselves energy self-reliant. ILSR digs deeper to examine how cities can overcome the barriers to municipal solar, and features five stories… Continue reading

solar panels and mountains - flickr Bart Speelman
Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on May 26, 2015

The Hole in Brian Potts’ WSJ Critique of the “Solar-Panel Craze.”

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/the-hole-in-brian-potts-wsj-critique-of-the-solar-panel-craze/

In his Sunday Wall Street Journal commentary on May 17, Brian Potts suggests that cost is the bottom line in the electric customer shift to solar, and that rooftop solar costs too much. But his defense of the utility’s view of energy costs leaves a big hole in the big picture: the value of solar… Continue reading

Installed-Capacity-by-Fuel-Type_March2015_supply-mix-page
Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on May 8, 2015

A Lesson in Solar from a Northern Neighbor

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/a-lesson-in-solar-from-a-northern-neighbor/

Based on population, Ontario would be the 5th largest state if it were part of the U.S., but its installed solar capacity, 1,500 MW would rank it 3rd. The province has also shut down all its coal-fired power plants. How does a northern province become a solar and climate leader, despite one of the poorest… Continue reading

beyond utility 2.0 to energy democracy graphics ILSR.020
Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by Rebecca Toews | No Comments | Updated on May 7, 2015

Beyond Utility 2.0: Part 3 “The Future”

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/beyond-utility-2-0-part-3-the-future/

Unfortunately for utilities, new technology and commercial opportunities in the coming years will only increase the threat to the 1.0 business model. Solar energy is growing exponentially as costs have fallen 28% per year from 2009-2013, and electricity from rooftops is approaching or passing parity with utility prices.63 This is the third of four parts of our… Continue reading

woman with axe - flickr Alexandre Dulaunoy
Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Apr 29, 2015

Why (Else) is Xcel Energy Trying to Axe Minnesota’s Community Solar program?

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/why-else-is-xcel-energy-trying-to-axe-minnesotas-community-solar-program/

In a filing Tuesday (April 28), Minnesota’s largest electric utility announced unilateral action within the next 30 days to reduce development under the state’s community solar gardens program by 80%, from nearly 560 MW to 80. It’s the latest in a series of attempts to slow the program, including efforts to cap the program and… Continue reading

beyond utility 2 cover image
Featured Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by Rebecca Toews | No Comments | Updated on Apr 22, 2015

Beyond Utility 2.0: Part 1 “A Prelude to the Future”

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/beyond-utility-2-0-part-1-prelude/

The U.S. electricity system is undergoing the biggest change in its 130-­year history. The scale of electricity generation is rapidly shrinking, from coal and nuclear power plants that can power a million homes to solar and wind power plants that power a few to a few hundred nearby homes. Electricity demand has leveled off, so… Continue reading

sunset in georgetown tx - flickr Jim Nix
Featured Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Apr 14, 2015

Can Other Cities Match Georgetown’s Low-Cost Switch to 100% Wind and Sun?

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/can-other-cities-match-georgetowns-low-cost-switch-to-100-wind-and-sun/

This is probably not the first place you’ve read about Georgetown, TX, the town of 55,000 that will be getting the equivalent of 100% of its electricity from renewable energy by 2017. But few articles hit upon the two key reasons Georgetown was able to make this move when so many other cities with abundant… Continue reading

electric company monopoly - Mike Fleming via Flickr
Featured Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Apr 1, 2015

Why Utilities Are Hating on Their Solar-Producing Customers

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/why-utilities-are-hating-on-their-solar-producing-customers/

I have the privilege of talking to a lot of reporters about rooftop solar energy, and particularly about why utilities seem hell bent on stopping their customers from using their own money to add clean, renewable energy to the electric grid. If this seems confusing to you, too, here’s a quick primer with some key… Continue reading

minnesota state capitol solar program - michael hicks flickr
Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Mar 18, 2015

Why Minnesota’s Community Solar Program is the Best

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

I’ve been asked a lot of questions about Minnesota’s community solar program over the past couple years and it’s time to make one thing clear: Minnesota’s program is the best in the country. Why? Because there 10 times more community solar projects in the queue—400 megawatts—in Minnesota than have been built in the history of… Continue reading

on air wnhn
Featured Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Mar 16, 2015

Can an Old Utility (dog) Learn New Tricks?

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

Arnie Arnesen interviewed ILSR’s Director of Democratic Energy John Farrell on WNHN’s The Attitude last week, seeking an answer to this question: can we expect electric utilities to embrace the energy sources of the future, like solar? Electric Utilities Play by the (Old) Rules Arnie and John discussed the hesitance of utilities to embrace innovation… Continue reading