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Barriers to Distributed Renewable Energy web.010
Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | 1 Comment | Updated on Oct 9, 2012

Barriers to Distributed Renewable Energy

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

A presentation by ILSR Senior Researcher John Farrell to a Disaster Law class at William Mitchell Law School on 9/17/12.  It examines the five major barriers to the expansion of community-based and conventional distributed renewable energy, including the tradition of utility control, raising capital, cash flow, legal, and utilities themselves.  View the presentation below:   Barriers… Continue reading

German v US residential PV costs
Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | 5 Comments | Updated on Sep 20, 2012

Why Are Residential PV Prices in Germany So Much Lower Than in the United States?

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/residential-pv-prices-germany-united-states/

Earlier this week, Lawrence Berkeley Labs released a marvelous comparison of residential PV costs in Germany and the United States, finally putting some detail to an enormous gulf in costs (nearly $3.00 per Watt).  The following chart (from page 35 of the presentation) shows the cost difference broken down into 9 categories, with ILSR’s addition… Continue reading

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Featured Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | 13 Comments | Updated on Sep 7, 2012

Minnesota’s First Community Solar Project is Minnesota-Made

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

Update 12/20/12: This project includes battery storage. Just last month, the Wright-Hennepin Cooperative Electric Association, serving communities just north and west of the Twin Cities metropolitan area, announced Minnesota’s first community solar project.  The 40 kW solar array will be located at the cooperative’s headquarters, with members allowed to purchase individual panels in the project… Continue reading

Complicated rubber band ball
Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | 2 Comments | Updated on Aug 27, 2012

Forthcoming Project in Washington State Illustrates Complexity of Community Solar

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/forthcoming-project-washington-state-illustrates-complexity-community-solar/

Colorado just launched their long-awaited community solar gardens law (program subscribed in 30 minutes) and California is progressing on a virtual net metering law that could remove one of many roadblocks to community solar.  But the Vashon Community Solar Project in Washington State shows that doing solar community-style hasn’t become easy. The Vashon project will… 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 | No Comments | Updated on Aug 3, 2012

Comparing Residential Solar Ownership to a Solar Lease

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/comparing-residential-solar-ownership-solar-lease/

It’s a case study of solar in Ithaca, NY, but it provides a good framework for comparing leasing to ownership in any place in the U.S. Solar Economics in Ithaca, NY Comparing solar ownership to a solar lease can be tricky.  The following analysis examines the value of owning a 5 kW solar PV system… Continue reading

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Article, ILSR Press Room filed under Energy | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Jul 30, 2012

Hawaii Drives Past Solar Power Cost Barrier, Surprised by Additional Roadblocks

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/hawaii-drives-solar-power-cost-barrier-surprised-additional-roadblocks/

The report finds that while the economics of solar continue to improve, a number of unexpected barriers have arisen. Homes often need electrical upgrades and local governments struggle to keep up with permit requests. Utilities are also reluctant to give up their market dominance, enforcing antiquated rules about grid interconnection that can add significant expense, delay, or even kill projects entirely. Continue reading

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Featured Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | 10 Comments | Updated on Jul 26, 2012

Hawaiian Sunblock: Solar Facing Unexpected Barriers Despite Low Cost

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/hawaiian-sunblock-solar-facing-unexpected-barriers-cost/

First in the U.S., Hawaii residents and businesses can install solar power – without incentives – for less than the cost of grid electricity.  But as local Earthjustice lawyer Isaac Moriwake notes, “the gates of heaven do not open just because solar is cheap.”  Instead, a number of unexpected barriers have kept the solar market… Continue reading

average solar size united states
Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | 3 Comments | Updated on Jul 23, 2012

Average Size of U.S. Solar Installations: Small

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/average-size-u-s-solar-installations-small/

Big dreams for renewable energy often goad people into imagining big solar projects, with acres of panels.  But lots of smaller projects are just as likely to add up to big numbers. Counting solar projects from California and New Jersey (which together make up half the U.S. solar market), the average size of an American… Continue reading

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Featured Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | 20 Comments | Updated on Jul 10, 2012

Why We Pay Double for Solar in America (But Won’t Forever)

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

Update 12/21/12: Corrected chart.  Overhead and Sales Tax had been switched in the German data column. I often get flak when I publish research on the cost trajectory for solar (e.g. my Rooftop Revolution report estimates 100 million Americans reaching grid parity by 2021).  About half think I’m too conservative, and half think I’m too… Continue reading