There are a lot of stories on residential rooftop solar but few if any on what cities are doing to make themselves energy self-reliant by using their own buildings and lands to generate power. In Public Rooftop Revolution, ILSR estimates that mid-sized cities could install as much as 5,000 megawatts of solar—as much as one-quarter… Continue reading
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Principles, Structure, and Policies of Energy Democracy Energy democracy can best be described as an electricity system that empowers the individuals and communities that have the energy resources of the 21st century (e.g. wind and solar) to economically benefit from their use. It shares the principles of utility 2.0 – an efficient, low- carbon, and… Continue reading
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
Aggressive state policy and cost reductions for clean energy have created two business model crises for electric utilities: stagnant sales and exponentially rising production from distributed renewable sources. This is the second of four parts of our Beyond Utility 2.0 to Energy Democracy report being published in serial. To see the first post, click here. Download the entire… Continue reading
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
There’s an increasingly shrill discussion among utilities (and from their own Edison Electric Institute) about the threat to their business from distributed energy, as their customers shift to getting their own power from local renewable resources. Reports and news stories – e.g. “Adapt or Die” – suggest changes to the business model are imminent as… Continue reading
The word “parity” is to the solar advocate as the word “abracadabra” is to the magician. Through it, all things are possible. But there’s really two kinds of solar parity with electricity prices, and the difference is significant. Take this article from Renewable Energy World last month. It claims that solar installations in New Mexico… Continue reading
The coming of solar grid parity offers an opportunity for millions of Americans to go solar affordably. But it also means a potential transformation, a democratization of an electricity system long dominated by centrally-controlled utilities and centralized ownership and production of electricity. When solar can undercut grid electricity prices, it may also undercut this 20th… Continue reading
Within a decade, 300,000 megawatts of unsubsidized local solar power could compete with utility electricity prices in almost every state, enough clean energy to produce 10% of U.S. electricity. Grid parity is building like a relentless wave, but how much solar is at parity today? In 2016? In 2020? On homes or businesses? With incentives… Continue reading
Minneapolis, MN —Within a decade, more than 35 million buildings may be generating their own solar electricity (without subsidies) at prices lower than their utility offers, sufficient to power almost 10% of the country.
That’s the powerful headline from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance’s latest report, Commercial Rooftop Revolution. Despite the opportunity, utilities, regulators, and policy markers are largely unprepared for the surge of local solar power.