Essential Elements in the Value of Solar

Date: 27 Sep 2013 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

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 in … Read More

Utility Agrees: (Their) Solar Should Supplant Natural Gas

Date: 16 Sep 2013 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

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 to … Read More

Minneapolis could excel beyond Xcel

Date: 12 Aug 2013 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States | 1 Facebooktwitterredditmail

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 on … Read More

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

Date: 15 Jul 2013 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States | 6 Facebooktwitterredditmail

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 are … Read More

Watch: 5 Barriers To and Solutions for Community Renewable Energy

Date: 3 May 2013 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States | 3 Facebooktwitterredditmail

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 30, … Read More

Soft Costs Make a Bigger Difference as Solar Gets Cheap

Date: 29 Apr 2013 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

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 analysis), … Read More

New Peak Power Capacity Should Use Solar, Not Gas

Date: 17 Apr 2013 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States | 5 Facebooktwitterredditmail

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: FYI, … Read More

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

Date: 17 Apr 2013 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States | 1 Facebooktwitterredditmail

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 producers … Read More

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

Date: 16 Apr 2013 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

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 (the … Read More

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