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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

5 gigs municipal solar
Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Jun 3, 2015

Public Rooftop Revolution Report: Part 3, “The Featured Five”

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://ilsr.org/public-rooftop-revolution-report-part-3-the-featured-five/

There are a lot of stories on residential rooftop solar but few if any on what cities are doing to make themselves energy self-reliant by using their own buildings and lands to generate power. In Public Rooftop Revolution, ILSR estimates that mid-sized cities could install as much as 5,000 megawatts of solar—as much as one-quarter… Continue reading

5 gigs municipal solar
Featured Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States, newenergy | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Jun 1, 2015

Public Rooftop Revolution Report

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

There are a lot of stories on residential rooftop solar but few if any on what cities are doing to make themselves energy self-reliant by using their own buildings and lands to generate power. In Public Rooftop Revolution, ILSR estimates that mid-sized cities could install as much as 5,000 megawatts of solar—as much as one-quarter… Continue reading

solar panels and mountains - flickr Bart Speelman
Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on May 26, 2015

The Hole in Brian Potts’ WSJ Critique of the “Solar-Panel Craze.”

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://ilsr.org/the-hole-in-brian-potts-wsj-critique-of-the-solar-panel-craze/

In his Sunday Wall Street Journal commentary on May 17, Brian Potts suggests that cost is the bottom line in the electric customer shift to solar, and that rooftop solar costs too much. But his defense of the utility’s view of energy costs leaves a big hole in the big picture: the value of solar… Continue reading

beyond utility 2.0 to energy democracy graphics ILSR.020
Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by Rebecca Toews | No Comments | Updated on May 7, 2015

Beyond Utility 2.0: Part 3 “The Future”

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://ilsr.org/beyond-utility-2-0-part-3-the-future/

Unfortunately for utilities, new technology and commercial opportunities in the coming years will only increase the threat to the 1.0 business model. Solar energy is growing exponentially as costs have fallen 28% per year from 2009-2013, and electricity from rooftops is approaching or passing parity with utility prices.63 This is the third of four parts of our… Continue reading

woman with axe - flickr Alexandre Dulaunoy
Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Apr 29, 2015

Why (Else) is Xcel Energy Trying to Axe Minnesota’s Community Solar program?

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://ilsr.org/why-else-is-xcel-energy-trying-to-axe-minnesotas-community-solar-program/

In a filing Tuesday (April 28), Minnesota’s largest electric utility announced unilateral action within the next 30 days to reduce development under the state’s community solar gardens program by 80%, from nearly 560 MW to 80. It’s the latest in a series of attempts to slow the program, including efforts to cap the program and… Continue reading

Cost of Residential Solar v. US Residential Retail
Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by Rebecca Toews | No Comments | Updated on Apr 29, 2015

Beyond Utility 2.0: Part 2 “The Present”

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://ilsr.org/beyond-utility-2-0-part-2-the-present/

Aggressive state policy and cost reductions for clean energy have created two business model crises for electric utilities: stagnant sales and exponentially rising production from distributed renewable sources. This is the second of four parts of our Beyond Utility 2.0 to Energy Democracy report being published in serial.  To see the first post, click here. Download the entire… 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

German v US residential PV costs
Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | 5 Comments | Updated on Sep 20, 2012

Why Are Residential PV Prices in Germany So Much Lower Than in the United States?

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://ilsr.org/residential-pv-prices-germany-united-states/

Earlier this week, Lawrence Berkeley Labs released a marvelous comparison of residential PV costs in Germany and the United States, finally putting some detail to an enormous gulf in costs (nearly $3.00 per Watt).  The following chart (from page 35 of the presentation) shows the cost difference broken down into 9 categories, with ILSR’s addition… Continue reading

PEC texas local energy jff ILSR
Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | 1 Comment | Updated on Apr 6, 2012

Solving the Local Clean Energy Puzzle

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

In this April 2 presentation to the Pedernales Electric Cooperative of Johnson City, TX, ILSR Senior Researcher John Farrell discussed how solving the clean local energy puzzle requires much more than a consideration of cost per kilowatt-hour. Instead, cooperatives, municipal utilities and others considering developing local clean power should consider issues of scale, value and… Continue reading