All Posts

Visualizing California’s Booming Solar Market

Visualizing California’s Booming Solar Market

Marie Donahue

August 15, 2018

Today, California claims a whopping 750,000 unique solar projects — an order of magnitude more than the number that existed in the state a decade ago. We illustrate this impressive, rapid expansion of solar projects throughout California over time in a cool, new animated map.READ MORE


How Cheap is 100% Renewable Electricity? Really Really.

How Cheap is 100% Renewable Electricity? Really Really.

John Farrell

August 10, 2018

Bottom line: in nearly 40 states, renewable electricity is less expensive than the existing power supply.READ MORE


Voices of 100%: Mayor Dale Ross on Georgetown’s Successful Switch to Renewable Power — Episode 58 of Local Energy Rules Podcast

Voices of 100%: Mayor Dale Ross on Georgetown's Successful Switch to Renewable Power — Episode 58 of Local Energy Rules Podcast

John Farrell

August 8, 2018

As a growing number of U.S. cities make commitments to reach 100 percent renewable electricity, how can cities actually achieve these goals? In this first episode of Voices of 100%, a multi-part series of Local Energy Rules, John Farrell interviews Mayor Dale Ross from Georgetown, Texas, one of the few communities in the country that has already reached its ambitious goal for renewable power. The two discuss how Georgetown reached its goal, what benefits it has seen from prioritizing local power, and what the city plans to do next.READ MORE


Where Should Dollars Come From for Fuel Switching?

Where Should Dollars Come From for Fuel Switching?

John Farrell

August 2, 2018

The triumph of renewable electricity has implications for other sectors traditionally controlled by the fossil fuel industry, and for regulators of those industries. Public overseers of gas and electric utilities now face the question of whether it’s appropriate to redirect scarce conservation dollars to “fuel switching,” providing financial incentives to switch energy customers to rapidly-becoming-renewable electricity.READ MORE


What to Consider When Planning for Electric Vehicles

What to Consider When Planning for Electric Vehicles

Marie Donahue

July 30, 2018

In the coming years, as electric vehicle ownership and charging infrastructure grow, communities and the energy system will be transformed. This month, we submitted comments to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission to inform a regulatory process on accommodating the expansion of electric vehicle use.READ MORE


Community Solar With an Equity Lens: Generating Electricity and Jobs in North Minneapolis — Episode 57 of Local Energy Rules Podcast

Community Solar With an Equity Lens: Generating Electricity and Jobs in North Minneapolis — Episode 57 of Local Energy Rules Podcast

Maria McCoy

July 24, 2018

Shiloh Temple, a church two miles from downtown Minneapolis, serves more than just the spiritual needs of the community. After a recent update to its roof, this church in North Minneapolis now serves some of the community’s energy needs, as well. In May, John Farrell visited the rooftop solar garden and interviewed Timothy DenHerder-Thomas, general manager of Cooperative Energy Futures, the cooperatively-owned company that installed the panels. The two discussed final stages of the project, the justice perspective that makes it unique, and other projects Cooperative Energy Futures has in the queue.READ MORE


Why Minnesota’s Community Solar Program is the Best

Why Minnesota's Community Solar Program is the Best

John Farrell

July 18, 2018

Minnesota's nation-leading community solar program hit a record 379 megawatts of operational capacity in July 2018. Two charts show the progress of the program since August 2015 and the share of subscribers by customer class.READ MORE


Reverse Power Flow: How Solar+Batteries Shift Electric Grid Decision Making from Utilities to Consumers

Reverse Power Flow: How Solar+Batteries Shift Electric Grid Decision Making from Utilities to Consumers

John Farrell

July 17, 2018

For 100 years, most decisions about the U.S. electric grid have been made at the top by electric utilities, public regulators, and grid operators. That era has ended, and our report details how the collective impact of individual consumers installing solar-plus-storage reverses the flow of power on the electricity grid.READ MORE


Of New Power Generation, How Much is on the Roof? Quarterly Update — 2018 Q1

Of New Power Generation, How Much is on the Roof? Quarterly Update — 2018 Q1

Marie Donahue

July 12, 2018

Using the latest available national data on new power generation through the first quarter of 2018, this recent analysis from ILSR’s Energy Democracy Initiative illustrates how renewable energy and small-scale, distributed solar stack up against utility-scale and fossil fuel power plants in supplying the new electricity capacity for the nation.READ MORE


Ohio Residents Exercise Community Choice to Bill Themselves for Public Solar — Episode 56 of Local Energy Rules Podcast

Ohio Residents Exercise Community Choice to Bill Themselves for Public Solar — Episode 56 of Local Energy Rules Podcast

Maria McCoy

July 5, 2018

Residents of Athens, Ohio, recently passed a carbon fee ballot initiative that will add 0.2 cents per kilowatt hour to electricity costs. On this episode of Local Energy Rules, Director of the Energy Democracy Initiative John Farrell speaks with UpGrade Ohio’s information and outreach director Mathew Roberts about this first-of-its-kind carbon fee and how a community-run energy utility made it possible.READ MORE


Being a B Corp also Benefits Green Mountain Power’s Bottom Line

Being a B Corp also Benefits Green Mountain Power's Bottom Line

Maria McCoy

June 26, 2018

Conventional wisdom suggests that concerns about social and environmental impacts, though well-intended, can distract from a public company's legal obligation to reward shareholders. But if this conventional wisdom were true, Vermont's Green Mountain Power ought to be lagging behind its investor-owned electric utility peers. Instead, this certified B Corp is promoting people, planet, and profit, and jumping ahead of its utility industry peers.READ MORE


An Open Letter to California Energy Commissioners on the Rooftop Solar Mandate

An Open Letter to California Energy Commissioners on the Rooftop Solar Mandate

John Farrell

June 22, 2018

The conventional wisdom in electricity generation is that scale matters. But this outdated notion rests on the assumption that electricity generators compete only in the wholesale market. California's nearly 1 million solar roofs already producing power provide the factual counterpunch to this myth, but so does ample research on the economies of scale and the price of competition in the wind and solar markets.READ MORE


New York Solar Bill Encourages Distributed Energy Market to Stay on Target

New York Solar Bill Encourages Distributed Energy Market to Stay on Target

John Farrell

June 22, 2018

In the New York solar version of this space epic, the Alliance’s X-wing fighters have scrambled to advance Assembly Bill 10474. It’s the only hope to stop VaDER—Value of Distributed Energy Resources--a tool once intended to transition the state’s solar market to version 2.0, but one that incumbent electric utilities have successfully turned to a dark purpose: quashing the ability of New York residents to go solar together.READ MORE


From the Archive: Anya Schoolman, Executive Director of Solar United Neighbors — Episode 55 of Local Energy Rules Podcast

From the Archive: Anya Schoolman, Executive Director of Solar United Neighbors — Episode 55 of Local Energy Rules Podcast

Marie Donahue

June 8, 2018

How did one group of neighbors from Washington, D.C., band together to advance clean energy locally and then build a larger movement replicating their model elsewhere? In the latest episode from the Local Energy Rules podcast archive, John Farrell, Director of ILSR’s Energy Democracy Initiative, revisits a 2013 interview with Anya Schoolman, the major force behind a unique, grassroots solar cooperative model that has since grown into Solar United Neighbors, now a national leader in distributed, cooperative solar. The two discuss effective ways to invest in solar energy and advocate for local policies to support distributed energy from the ground uREAD MORE


Vote for Decorah Municipal Utility Falls Short, But Local Energy Advocates Persist

Vote for Decorah Municipal Utility Falls Short, But Local Energy Advocates Persist

John Farrell

May 31, 2018

The final referendum results in May 2018 were stunningly close, with local organizers coming within three votes of advancing an effort for a municipal electric utility in the small town of Decorah, Iowa. The incumbent monopoly utility outspent local activists by a 4-to-1 margin, overwhelming local organizing despite a study that suggested electric customers could save 30% by switching to a locally owned utility.READ MORE