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Happy New Year and Happy 5th to Energy Self-Reliant States!

| Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Dec 23, 2015 The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at


Five years ago, I launched ILSR’s first program blog, Energy Self-Reliant States, to provide regular analysis and perspective on the opportunities to enrich local economies in the changing energy landscape. At the time, the big discussions in energy were about state renewable portfolio standards, wind power, and big transmission lines as the only reasonable and cost-effective strategy to meet ambitious climate and energy goals.
 us new power plant capacity 2003-15 ILSR
My, how the discourse has changed.

Solar energy has increased from providing 5% to 30% of new power plant capacity, with installed capacity growing 7 times over. Distributed solar alone accounts for half this surge, and the cost of solar has fallen by two-thirds. The combination of rapidly falling solar costs, rising electricity rates, and widely distributed smart technology has the utility industry fearing a “death spiral” from customers dramatically reducing their energy consumption. The electric company monopoly no longer seems quite so “natural.”
Back then we had about 150 weekly views on our site, mostly me refreshing the page, no doubt. And my daughter, now 4.5, was born that summer causing quite a dip in content. We started with about 15 email subscribers and 40 twitter followers.


A Lot Changes in 5 Years

photo 1_0 2015-11-18 09.48.32
 Now, thanks to you, we’re all over the place!  Nearly 2,000 subscribe to our weekly email, over 2,800 have joined our Twitter following, and almost 500 folks are fans of our Facebook page. Our work is regularly posted to Renewable Energy World and Clean Technica, and sometimes featured in the Wall Street Journal!
So, to celebrate five years on the internets, here are a few Top 5 lists of our first five years:


Content Top 5 (most read, shared, commented)

1. Ultimate Solar Calculator “App” Helps You Choose: To Own or Lease? by John Farrell – September 4th, 2014

2. Mapping Solar Grid Parity by John Farrell – December 14th, 2011

3. Rooftop Revolution by John Farrell – December 14th, 2012

4. Why We Pay Double for Solar in America (But Won’t Forever) by John Farrell – July 10th, 2012

5. Germany Has More Solar Power Because Everyone Wins by John Farrell – February 8th, 2013


Twitter Top 5

Top 5 Media Hits

WSJ Square Logo The New York Times Square Logo The Atlantic Square Logo NPR Square Logo Huffington Post Square Logo

Will Solar Energy Plummet if the Investment Tax Credit Fades Away? by Amit Ronen & John Farrell, The Wall Street Journal
November 15th, 2015
Bypassing the Power Grid by Beth Gardiner, The New York Times
October 8th, 2013
Charting the Fall of Solar Prices by Kyle Thetford, The Atlantic
August 19th, 2013
The Great Solar Panel Debate: To Lease Or To Buy? by Jeff Brady, National Public Radio
February 10th, 2015
Hawaii’s Test Case for Solar Grid Penetration by Scott Cooney, The Huffington Post
February 22nd, 2014

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