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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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Solar Shifts Peak Demand for the Electric Grid
Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | 1 Comment | Updated on Jun 27, 2012

Four Charts Provide Distributed Solar Lessons from California

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://ilsr.org/charts-provide-distributed-solar-lessons-california/

A new study for the California Public Utilities Commission explores the “Technical Potential for Local Distributed Photovoltaics in California.”  Basically, it’s one of the more in-depth analyses of local solar power in the country, suggesting that California has the capacity to add 15 gigawatts (GW) of local solar (20 megawatts and smaller) to its grid… Continue reading

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Featured Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | 6 Comments | Updated on Jun 19, 2012

Crowdfunding for Community Power?

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://ilsr.org/crowdfunding-community-power/

Back in April, President Obama signed the JOBS Act and one of the most-heralded elements was so-called crowdfunding. The law sought to solve a major problem: it’s hard to finance small-scale business ventures.  Wall Street only cares about multi-million dollar plays and securities regulations make small-dollar projects rather difficult (and costly) to jointly fund. The… Continue reading

Back to the Future on Solar?
Article, ILSR Press Room filed under Energy | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Jun 18, 2012

1.21 Gigawatts!

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://ilsr.org/1-21-gigawatts/

In the past five years, a new U.S. renewable energy policy has quietly grown more popular, enabling enough solar power (1.21 gigawatts!) to send Michael J. Fox “Back to the Future.” CLEAN programs – Clean Local Energy Accessible Now – have been adopted in 14 states and can significantly increase the deployment of local solar power, says a new report from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR). Continue reading

Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | 3 Comments | Updated on Jun 15, 2012

FHFA Finally Releases PACE Ruling: Did They Repent?

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://ilsr.org/fhfa-finally-releases-pace-ruling-repent/

After effectively suspending residential PACE energy efficiency and renewable energy municipal financing programs in 2010 and then being taken to federal court and required to do a revised rule making, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) released its revised ruling on PACE programs [pdf] today. Did they repent from their 2010 assertion that PACE presented… Continue reading

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Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | 4 Comments | Updated on Jun 14, 2012

Phase-Out of the Federal Wind Tax Credit a Good Thing?

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://ilsr.org/phase-out-federal-wind-tax-credit-good-thing/

Energy and Environment News has a very long story on a new angle for the federal wind tax credit debate: a phaseout. This article raises several issues, apart from that policy strategy, that are worth a quick discussion. 1. Why Would Wind Compete with Natural Gas? The article waxes long about the trials of the… Continue reading

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Featured Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | 7 Comments | Updated on Jun 11, 2012

U.S. CLEAN Programs: Where Are We Now? What Have We Learned?

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://ilsr.org/u-s-clean-programs-now-learned/

This report from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance identifies all of the existing CLEAN (Clean Local Energy Accessible Now) programs in the United States (also known as feed-in tariffs) and examines the lessons learned from the early adopters. Download the report [pdf] Read on the Kindle, Nook, or Apple iBooks Executive Summary CLEAN programs (Clean… Continue reading

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Featured Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Jun 8, 2012

Solar Power for Minnesota

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

This report, done for the Solar Works for Minnesota campaign, explores the value of solar power on schools, libraries, and other public buildings in Minnesota.  It was co-authored by John Farrell of ILSR and Christina Mills of IEER. Download the Report Highlights Minnesotans spend more than $20 billion dollars every year on these energy imports…. Continue reading

Photo by Zane Selvans
Rule filed under Energy | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Jun 7, 2012

Colorado Caps Solar Permitting Fees

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

The state of Colorado passed a law in 2011 to solve the problem of inconsistent and expensive solar permitting costs. A national study recently found that local permitting can increase the cost of residential solar by 15-20%, a problem that becomes more pressing as the cost of solar hardware falls. Colorado’s Fair Permit Act (HB… Continue reading

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Article, Rule filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | 4 Comments | Updated on Jun 7, 2012

Vermont’s Streamlined Solar Permitting

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

The state of Vermont has come up with a good rule for reducing the cost of solar power installations. A national study recently found that local permitting can increase the cost of residential solar by 15-20%, a problem that becomes more pressing as the cost of solar hardware falls. Vermont’s rule shifts the burden of… Continue reading

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Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | 1 Comment | Updated on May 14, 2012

Could Securitization Democratize Solar Power?

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

After Wall Street popularized the term “mortgage-backed securities” in their destruction of the economy in 2008, you could be forgiven for thinking “solar securities” are a pyramid scheme.  But in truth, they may hold the key to democratizing the financing and the ownership of distributed renewable energy. Right now, financing solar typically means looking for… Continue reading