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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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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://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://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 wind size united states
Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Jul 24, 2012

U.S. Wind Project Size

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://ilsr.org/u-s-wind-project-size/

Big dreams for renewable energy often goad people into imagining big wind projects, with hundreds of turbines.  But lots of smaller projects are just as likely to add up to big numbers. Counting wind projects from 1999-2010 (based on data from LBNL’s excellent Wind Technologies Market report) the average size of an American wind project… 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://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

LEAN CCA presentation jf ILSR
Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Jul 17, 2012

Local Energy Choice with Community Choice Aggregation

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

Local Energy Choice with Community Choice Aggregation from John Farrell A presentation by ILSR Senior Researcher John Farrell to the National Strategy Meeting of the Local Energy Aggregation Network (February 2012) on the potential for community choice aggregation policy to increase local clean energy development.  For more on this policy, you may also like our… Continue reading

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Featured Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | 7 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://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

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Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | 3 Comments | Updated on Jul 4, 2012

Energy Independence or Clean Energy Self-Reliance?

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://ilsr.org/energy-independence-clean-energy-self-reliance/

Update August 7, 2012: I’d like to this this qualifies as Friedman’s response to this column. In Thomas Friedman’s latest column, he praises Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts because he “took one for the country.”  Friedman sees that “America today is poised for a great renewal” if only it can get some “big, centrist,… Continue reading

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Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Jul 2, 2012

U.S. CLEAN Explanation and Update

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

 [slideshare id=13411120&doc=us-clean-programs-presentation-120621153715-phpapp01] This short presentation distills the definition and status of U.S. CLEAN (“feed-in tariff”) programs given in our full report.  Click below to watch the slideshow. You can also read the full report in PDF, or get it for Kindle, Nook, or your Apple iDevice. Continue reading

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