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Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | 8 Comments | Updated on Apr 9, 2014

An Enormous Question for ‘Solar Choice’

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

Two weeks ago, Minnesota’s Public Utilities Commission ratified the first-ever statewide policy for setting a fair and transparent price on solar energy. This week, a coalition of companies that provide leasing contracts for solar to home and business customers declared war on this “value of solar” policy, and pretty much every financial model for compensating… Continue reading

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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 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

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Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | 1 Comment | Updated on Sep 13, 2013

Utility Shocked to Find It’s Already Dead

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

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

Lessons from Minnesota- A Solar Success - web
Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Jul 16, 2013

Lessons from Minnesota – a Solar Success (Presentation)

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

This presentation by Director of Democratic Energy John Farrell shows the politics, process, and policy that led to Minnesota becoming the 17th state with a solar or distributed renewable energy standard in 2013.  Delivered to a webinar audience of Oregonians for Renewable Energy Progress (OREP) on July 16, 2013, it explains the new solar standard,… Continue reading

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Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by Wade | No Comments | Updated on Jun 26, 2013

Positive Policy Changes for Distributed Renewable Energy

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

From outdated technical rules to local permitting to incentive policies, there are opportunities to increase the potential for local solar. This is the fourth of five parts of our Rooftop Revolution report being published in serial.  Read Part 1 or Part 2 or Part 3. Download the entire report and see our other resources here…. Continue reading

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Article, ILSR Press Room filed under Energy | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Jan 2, 2013

Is Your Utility Ready? New Report Says Local Solar Could Power 10% of Country in 10 Years

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/utility-ready-report-local-solar-power-10-country-10-years/

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.

Read the report, view the interactive map, and more

Continue reading

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Article, Rule filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | 1 Comment | Updated on Aug 17, 2012

Virtual Net Metering

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

Net metering is a common distributed renewable energy policy in the United States, allowing individuals to “turn back” their meter (and reduce their electric bill) by generating on-site electricity.  But utility accounting systems typically prevent people from sharing the output from a single, common solar or wind project. Virtual (or group or neighborhood) net metering… Continue reading

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Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | 3 Comments | Updated on Aug 16, 2012

Colorado’s Community Solar Program Allots 9 MW in 30 Minutes

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/colorados-community-solar-program-allots-9-mw-30-minutes/

When you subtract out shady roofs, renters, and other factors, only about 25% of Americans have a place to install solar power.  With the high upfront cost of a complete system, the potential solar universe shrinks further. That changes with “community solar.” After a long wait on the state’s Public Utilities Commission to finalize the… Continue reading

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

Net Metering a Cost to Utilities, or a Benefit?

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/net-metering-cost-utilities-benefit-2/

Update: A third-party study of net metering in California also found that solar customers provide more benefit than cost to the utility Utilities often claim that allowing customers to run their meter backward (by generating electricity on-site, e.g. from rooftop solar) can affect their bottom line because these customers don’t pay enough to cover the… Continue reading