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Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Sep 27, 2013

Essential Elements in the Value of Solar

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

Comments to the Minnesota Division of Energy Resources Re: Value of Solar Stakeholder Process From: Institute for Local Self-Reliance    John Farrell, Director of Democratic Energy Date: September 20, 2013 Background The value of solar component of the state’s new solar energy standard must be considered in the context of the state’s energy goals, expressed… Continue reading

solar gas infographic xcel
Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Sep 16, 2013

Utility Agrees: (Their) Solar Should Supplant Natural Gas

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://ilsr.org/utility-agrees-their-solar-supplant-natural-gas/

Five months ago, one of the country’s ten largest electric utilities told regulators in Minnesota that it needed three new natural gas power plants to handle peak energy demand.  This week, the same company’s Colorado division announced plans to use more solar power because it is cost competitive with gas. Maybe they need a memo… Continue reading

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Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | 1 Comment | Updated on Aug 12, 2013

Minneapolis could excel beyond Xcel

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://ilsr.org/minneapolis-excel-xcel/

A lot of folks came to a hearing at Minneapolis City Hall eight days ago to oppose a ballot measure authorizing the city to form a municipal utility. Mostly they argued that the status quo is sufficient. I’d like to ask if they understand the question. This commentary was originally published by the Star Tribune… Continue reading

Two Kinds of Solar Parity
Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | 6 Comments | Updated on Jul 15, 2013

Is Solar Cheaper Than Grid Electricity? Yes. And No.

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://ilsr.org/solar-cheaper-grid-electricity-yes-no/

The word “parity” is to the solar advocate as the word “abracadabra” is to the magician.  Through it, all things are possible.  But there’s really two kinds of solar parity with electricity prices, and the difference is significant. Take this article from Renewable Energy World last month.  It claims that solar installations in New Mexico… Continue reading

community renewable energy presentation - sustainable economies law center.001
Featured Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | 3 Comments | Updated on May 3, 2013

5 Barriers to and Solutions for Community Renewable Energy

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://ilsr.org/5-barriers-solutions-community-renewable-energy/

Community renewable energy has significant political and economic benefits, but is often hindered by five major barriers. Watch this vividly illustrated presentation to learn how communities can overcome the barriers and advance more local renewable energy. ILSR Senior Researcher John Farrell gave this presentation as part of a Sustainable Economies Law Center webinar on April… Continue reading

Lowering Soft Costs Means Big Solar Savings
Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Apr 29, 2013

Soft Costs Make a Bigger Difference as Solar Gets Cheap

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://ilsr.org/soft-costs-bigger-difference-solar-cheap/

Last week’s graphic on the impact of local permitting on the cost of solar power was a big hit, so here’s a follow up on “soft costs,” the expenses in a solar installation (including permitting) that are not the solar module.  The chart compares the soft costs in the U.S. to Germany (thanks to LBNL’s… Continue reading

Xcel Energy should use solar for peak power
Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | 5 Comments | Updated on Apr 17, 2013

New Peak Power Capacity Should Use Solar, Not Gas

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

It’s parochial, since I’m a Minnesota resident, but I just can’t stand that our state’s largest utility, Xcel Energy, is planning to use ratepayer money to buy three new natural gas fired peaking plants instead of a) installing solar power or b) supporting the proposed solar energy standard.  Share the graphic below if you agree:… Continue reading

truth stretched
Featured Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | 1 Comment | Updated on Apr 17, 2013

Proposed Solar Standard is Cheap Compared to Minnesota Utilities’ Rate Increases

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://ilsr.org/proposed-solar-standard-cheap-compared-minnesota-utilities-rate-increases/

If you’re a state legislator in Minnesota, here are a few grains of salt to season the message you’ve been getting from electric utilities about the proposed solar energy standard.  The bill (HF956/SF901) requires most utilities to get 4% of their energy from solar by 2025 and offers a standard, fixed-price contract to distributed solar energy… Continue reading

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Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Apr 16, 2013

Proposed Solar Standard is Cheap Compared to Minnesota Utilities’ Rate Increases

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

If you’re a state legislator in Minnesota, here’s a few grains of salt to season the message you’ve been getting from electric utilities about the proposed solar energy standard.  The bill (HF956/SF901) requires most utilities to get 4% of their energy from solar by 2025 and offers a standard, fixed-price contract to distributed solar energy producers… Continue reading

Cost of Residential p.3
Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by Wade | 1 Comment | Updated on Apr 4, 2013

Solar Costs and Grid Prices On a Collision Course

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

With the cost of solar continuing to fall rapidly (50% in the past five years) and electricity prices rising steadily, if slowly, the approach of solar grid parity is near. The following chart illustrates the trajectory of solar cost and electricity price, hinting at the coming intersection. 1 The chart compares the cost of a… Continue reading