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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

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rooftop solar – Montgomery County Planning Commission flickr
Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Mar 24, 2015

Rhode Island Standard Contracts Program Grows Distributed Generation

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://ilsr.org/distributed-generation-rhode-island/

This is an invited guest post from Virginia Rutter of Eutectics. By the end of 2019, Rhode Island has a goal to have 200 MW of distributed renewable energy generation in the state, most of it solar. The primary means by which Rhode Island means to meet this goal is through the use of standardized… 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://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://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

us power plant capacity additions 2003-2014 ILSR
Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Mar 10, 2015

Small-Scale Solar Contributes 13% of New Power Plant Capacity in 2014

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://ilsr.org/small-scale-solar-contributes-13-power-plants-2014/

The growth of solar has continued at a furious pace, with a new record of 6.2 gigawatts installed in the United States in 2014. But the bigger tale may be the persistent growth of small-scale solar, on residential and non-residential rooftops (and property).  These projects, a megawatt or smaller, contributed 13% of new power plant… Continue reading

sun and transmission lines - flickr Dennis Wilkinson
Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Mar 6, 2015

Solar Parity Coming Faster Than Expected

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

Back in 2012, ILSR released a pair of reports on the solar Rooftop Revolution, noting that one-third of Americans would live in a metropolitan area where the cost of solar energy from their roof would be less than the cost of power from the utility by 2021. When combined with our analysis of non-residential property,… Continue reading

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Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Feb 27, 2015

Can a State’s Solar Party Start Without It?

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://ilsr.org/states-solar-party-start-it/

In about half of U.S. states, an individual or business can have solar installed on their roof owned by someone else, and either buy the power or lease the array from that third party. These power purchase or lease models drastically simplify the process of going solar (at a price), avoiding the work of managing… Continue reading

jff presenting in tucson cropped
Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Feb 20, 2015

Could Solar Shine in a Tucson City-Utility Partnership?

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://ilsr.org/solar-shine-tucson-city-utility-partnership/

A city in the sunny southwest, Tucson is wondering how it can maximize its use of cost-effective, economy-boosting solar power. Is a partnership with the electric utility, as seen in Minneapolis, the answer? ILSR’s Director of Democratic Energy gave this presentation to several audiences on a recent (delightful) visit to Tucson, Arizona, to explore the… Continue reading

cloud over solar panel - flickr  Pieter Morlion
Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Feb 11, 2015

How and Why Utilities Make Solar Look Expensive

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

I’m visiting the wonderful folks from Sustainable Tucson in Arizona next week to talk about the opportunities that solar and clean energy offer their local economy. In preparation, I’m looking at their current monopoly electricity provider, Tucson Electric Power. Remarkably, the utility acquires just 4% of its electricity from renewable resources (and over 70% from… Continue reading

computer-screen 5 pillars
Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Feb 6, 2015

Unveiling the Five Pillars of Energy Democracy

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://ilsr.org/unveiling-pillars-energy-democracy/

Exciting changes are on the horizon for our century-old utility structure as solar power, energy storage, and electric vehicles open new avenues for utility customers to produce their own power and control their energy use. Utilities are scrambling to remain relevant in this technological firestorm, and energy wonks are envisioning a new business model––Utility 2.0––that… Continue reading

titanic iceberg - flickr Jimmy
Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Feb 6, 2015

Are We Sunk? The Electric Utility’s Titanic Problem

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

In my recent report on the utility business model of the future, I laid out 5 pillars of a democratic energy system. It’s hard not to notice the contrast between this vision of the future and the 15-year business plan laid out by Xcel Energy in Minnesota, the incumbent monopoly serving about half the state’s… Continue reading