Back to top Jump to featured resources

Viewing all content from John Farrell

About John Farrell

John Farrell directs the Energy Self-Reliant States and Communities program at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and he focuses on energy policy developments that best expand the benefits of local ownership and dispersed generation of renewable energy. More

Contact John   |   View all articles by John Farrell

solar pv cost of energy 2014 ilsr
Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Aug 20, 2015

Questioning Solar Energy Economies of Scale, 2014 Edition

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://ilsr.org/questioning-solar-energy-economies-of-scale-2014-edition/

While utilities continue to imply that large-scale solar projects are more economical than small ones, the data is telling another story. In fact, costs for transmission and distribution of utility-scale solar energy may largely undermine the modestly better economics at the point of generation. In other words (as I wrote a month ago), Utility Solar… Continue reading

big and small guys at bathroom urinal - flickr Glenn Bruynooghe
Featured Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Aug 11, 2015

If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Own ‘Em—Utilities Muscle in to Rooftop Solar Market

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://ilsr.org/if-you-cant-beat-em-own-em-utilities-muscle-in-to-rooftop-solar-market/

In the past five years, rooftop solar has revealed the limitations of the archaic electric utility business model, as customers have found generating their own power more cost effective than taking 100% of their energy from the incumbent monopoly. For years, utilities have fought back by trying to make competition less cost effective, at a… Continue reading

solar home rooftop - flickr Tim Fuller
Featured Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Aug 7, 2015

Two Decades of Solar Pioneers in Sacramento – Episode 27 of Local Energy Rules

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://ilsr.org/two-decades-of-solar-pioneers-in-sacramento-episode-27-of-local-energy-rules/

The publicly-owned Sacramento Municipal Utility District, or SMUD, had already installed the first utility-scale PV array in the nation back in 1984. By the early 1990s, the utility saw a potential for rooftop solar and launched its PV Pioneer program, placing dozens of solar arrays on their customer’s rooftops, for a fee. The standardized rollout… Continue reading

50 ways to leave utility - solar
Featured Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Aug 3, 2015

Clean Power Plan: 50 Ways to Get More Clean, Local Energy

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://ilsr.org/clean-power-plan-50-ways-to-get-more-clean-local-energy/

The Obama administration released the Clean Power Plan today requiring substantial greenhouse gas emissions reductions from the electricity sector. The plan sets targets from the top down, but largely leaves the details to states, providing a significant opportunity to craft rules that encourage energy development and ownership from the bottom up. These 50 state plans… Continue reading

wind turbines sunrise - flickr David Clarke
Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States, newenergy | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Jul 27, 2015

A Rising Wind: Better Tech Means Greater State Wind Potential

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://ilsr.org/a-rising-wind-better-tech-means-greater-state-wind-potential/

For states looking to reduce their reliance on dirty, imported energy, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory brings good news on the wind. In a May 2015 report, significantly more wind power potential was found in nearly every state thanks to advancing turbine technology. In 2015, 40 states could produce 50% or more of their annual electricity… Continue reading

farrell and rabago
Featured Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States, newenergy | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Jul 21, 2015

Is Socialism What’s Stopping a Fair Value for Solar?

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://ilsr.org/is-socialism-whats-stopping-a-fair-value-for-solar/

Complete nonsense. The most socialistic thing I’ve ever heard. That’s just two quotes from a value of solar conversation between ILSR’s John Farrell and Karl Rábago of the Pace Energy and Climate Center that took place online on July 8, 2015. More and more people are installing solar, significantly reducing their purchase of electricity from… Continue reading

topaz utility scale solar - flickr  Pacific Southwest Region USFWS
Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States, newenergy | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Jul 17, 2015

Utility Solar May Cost Less, But It’s Also Worth Less

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://ilsr.org/utility-solar-may-cost-less-but-its-also-worth-less/

A new report released this week asserts that utility-scale solar is much more economical than small-scale solar. The clear implication is that we should let incumbent utilities build or buy solar from large-scale arrays instead of allowing customers to generate their own power. There are several reasons to seriously question the mistaken assertion that big… Continue reading

coexist with solar.001
Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States, newenergy | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Jul 16, 2015

Solar for All: An Article of Faith – Episode 26 of Local Energy Rules

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://ilsr.org/solar-for-all-an-article-of-faith-episode-26-of-local-energy-rules/

Minnesota’s community solar garden program may be the envy of the nation — once the utility’s stall tactics have been stopped — but it needs a little help to fulfill the vision of bringing solar to all. That’s where Julia Nerbonne, executive director of Minnesota Interfaith Power & Light, comes in. In June 2015, John… Continue reading

rooftop solar house germany - Tim Fuller flickr
Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States, newenergy | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Jun 25, 2015

Solar Net Metering a Subsidy to Utilities?

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://ilsr.org/solar-net-metering-a-subsidy-to-utilities/

When Robert Nohavec of Park City, Utah; Jabbar Graham from Cherry Hill, New Jersey; and Don Born, of Waldoboro, Maine installed solar on their homes, they had something unexpected in common. They were all giving back to their electric company and their community. That’s because solar energy systems tend to provide more value to the… Continue reading

WordItOut-word-cloud-935200
Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States, newenergy | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Jun 22, 2015

Unanswered Questions about the Public Rooftop Revolution

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

At the beginning of June 2015, ILSR released its Public Rooftop Revolution report, which described how cities across the nation put the shine on municipal rooftops with more than 5,000 MW of solar. That 5,000 MW is as much as one-quarter of all solar installed in the U.S. to date — and many cities could… Continue reading