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Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by Matt Grimley | No Comments | Updated on Jul 21, 2016

What if…Your Electric Utility Was a Benefit Corporation?

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/what-if-your-electric-utility-was-a-benefit-corporation/

The misunderstandings that from time to time occur between communities and the managers of electric-lighting companies will, to my mind, disappear entirely if the relations between the two are correctly founded on the basis of public control, with corresponding protection to the corporations operating this industry. More than 100 years ago, standing in front of… Continue reading

Distributed Generation Under Fire Q1 2016
Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by Karlee Weinmann | No Comments | Updated on Jul 14, 2016

Distributed Generation Under Fire (Q1 2016)

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/distributed-generation-under-fire-q1-2016/

It all comes down to the money. Discord over compensation for solar customers and utilities alike bled into the first part of the year, extending a long-running debate over the best ways to integrate solar power and — thanks to a few hard-line policy moves — threatening to hold back growth in the solar marketplace…. 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 23, 2016

Local Utilities Have Lost Local Control

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/local-utilities-have-lost-local-control/

This post made possible by the tireless efforts of ILSR intern Abbigail Feola. She dug up the data, identified the story worth sharing, and wrote the following piece below. Historically, the purpose of both municipal and cooperative utility agencies has been to bring energy services to communities that for-profit corporations thought unprofitable to serve. This… Continue reading

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Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by Nick Stumo-Langer | No Comments | Updated on Jun 20, 2016

ILSR’s Distributed Solar Capacity Quarterly Update (2016 Q1)

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/ilsrs-distributed-solar-capacity-quarterly-update-2016-q1/

Solar made up over a half of the added power plant capacity during the first quarter of 2016. With over 800 MW (AC) coming from distributed solar, this year is shaping up to be another banner year for renewable energy. See previous updates: 2015 Q4, 2015 Q3, 2015 Q2, 2015 Q1, 2014 Q4, 2014 Q3, 2014 Q2 Distributed… Continue reading

To Lease or To Own
Featured Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by Nick Stumo-Langer | No Comments | Updated on Jun 10, 2016

To Lease or To Own Your Solar Array (Infographic)

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/to-lease-or-to-own-your-solar-array-infographic/

Is owning your solar array your best option, or is leasing right for you? Along with our existing Solar Calculators (both complex and simplified), we have this new infographic. This graphic details the two different ownership structures based around a number of important categories. Please note that solar panels typically carry a 20-year warranty, but most panels… Continue reading

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Featured Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on May 23, 2016

Being Black Still a Barrier to Rural Cooperative Board Membership

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/being-black-still-a-barrier-to-rural-cooperative-board-membership/

In 1984, the New York Times ran a story highlighting the almost universally white boards of directors among 300 Southern electric cooperatives serving populations with thousands of African American member-owners: According to Oleta G. Fitzgerald, a staff lawyer with the [Southern Regional Council], a survey of 300 cooperatives in Southern states showed no more than… Continue reading

The Many Categories of Net Metering
Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by Nick Stumo-Langer | No Comments | Updated on May 19, 2016

The Many Categories of Net Metering (Infographic)

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/the-many-categories-of-net-metering-infographic/

Net metering is a common rule for the electricity system in nearly every state, allowing folks who generate their own electricity to get a fair credit on their bill for what they generate. But there’s more to the concept that a single person with solar on their rooftop, from cities wanting to offset energy use… Continue reading

rooftop solar potential usa by state ilsr change 2008-16
Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Apr 11, 2016

Sharply Higher Rooftop Solar Potential Increases Opportunity for Energy Self-Reliance

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/sharply-higher-rooftop-solar-potential-increases-potential-for-energy-self-reliance/

Earlier this year, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory released a new estimate of rooftop solar potential, an update to 2008 figures we used in our landmark state-by-state energy atlas, Energy Self-Reliant States. The bottom line: there’s much more potential to generate our electricity from solar on nearby buildings than we previously thought. The irony is… Continue reading

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Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Mar 14, 2016

ILSR’s Distributed Solar Capacity Quarterly Update (2015 Q4)

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/ilsrs-distributed-solar-capacity-quarterly-update-2015-q4/

It was the biggest quarter ever for solar, which supplied one-third of over 7.3 gigawatts of new power plant capacity added to the grid. Distributed solar kept pace, with 832 megawatts (AC) added in the last three months of 2015! Important note: in prior versions of this update I made an error, forgetting to covert… Continue reading

Rural Farmland in America
Featured Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by Nick Stumo-Langer | No Comments | Updated on Mar 11, 2016

Are Rural Electric Cooperatives Driving or Just Dabbling in Community Solar?

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/rural-electric-and-cooperatives-community-solar/

Electric cooperatives, member-owned organizations that sell electricity to those within their service area, are perhaps the nation’s largest group of utilities that could champion clean, local power. They tend to cover enormous swaths of the most rural territory, often with excellent wind and solar resources. In one manner of renewable energy, cooperatives are leading the… Continue reading

Distributed Generation of Solar by State
Article, Resource filed under Energy | Written by Nick Stumo-Langer | No Comments | Updated on Feb 29, 2016

The State(s) of Distributed Solar

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/the-states-of-distributed-solar/

With the solar energy tax credit’s future settled by Congress, solar energy has the green light to continue expanding across the U.S. But who benefits from solar depends heavily on state policy. Do states encourage distributed solar deployment and the democratization of energy or simply leave solar growth up to incumbent utilities? The following map… Continue reading

randy wilson
Featured Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by Matt Grimley | No Comments | Updated on Jan 13, 2016

Just How Democratic are Rural Electric Cooperatives?

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/just-how-democratic-are-rural-electric-cooperatives/

Randy Wilson knew you had to start somewhere. Knocking on doors and hanging around retail store parking lots, he and volunteers from the citizen group Kentuckians for the Commonwealth collected signatures. After weeks of holding out clipboards, they collected the more than 500 signatures needed to run for the board of the Jackson Energy Cooperative… Continue reading

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Featured Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Jan 5, 2016

Congress Gets Renewable Tax Credit Extension Right

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/congress-gets-renewable-tax-credit-extension-right/

In case you missed it over the holiday, Congress passed a new federal budget, notably extending tax credits for solar, wind, and other renewable energy technologies. The extension differs from previous ones in two ways: it extends the credits for multiple years but also (as ILSR has been discussing since 2012) phases them out over… Continue reading

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Featured Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Dec 14, 2015

ILSR’s Distributed Solar Capacity Quarterly Update

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/ilsrs-distributed-solar-capacity-quarterly-update/

Renewable energy continues to dominate new power plant capacity and distributed generation has contributed an increasingly large share. We’ve been tracking this phenomenon since April of 2014, and, finally, the Energy Information Administration has recognized the prevalence of distributed solar and is going to report estimates of this added capacity in their monthly updates. This… Continue reading

hawaii solar price comes up short ILSR
Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Oct 21, 2015

Hawaii’s Net Metering Alternative Comes Up (Way) Short

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/hawaiis-net-metering-alternative-comes-up-way-short/

Earlier this week, the Public Utilities Commission of Hawaii approved the proposal of the islands’ largest utility to end net metering for solar customers. It’s the culmination of a years-long battle and a proxy in the national fight between utilities and solar producing customers. It’s also the first big decision taking Hawaii away from the… Continue reading