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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

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Featured Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Oct 21, 2015

UPDATE: Distributed Renewable Energy Under Fire

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

Need evidence that utilities are fighting back against their customer’s desire to generate their own power? This map shows where policies like net metering are undermining the ability of utility customers to exercise their desire for self-reliance. I developed this map as a side project while I was working on explaining the value of solar… Continue reading

solar surge in new power plant capacity
Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Sep 11, 2015

Ever Greater Share of New Power from Distributed Solar

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/ever-greater-share-of-new-power-from-distributed-solar/

Second quarter data from the Energy Information Administration and the Solar Energy Industries Association came out this week and distributed solar continues its surging growth. Over 650 megawatts (MW) of new distributed solar capacity was grid connected between April and June, 10% of new power plant capacity. Even more impressive than the steady growth each… Continue reading

topaz utility scale solar - flickr  Pacific Southwest Region USFWS
Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | 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 https://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

rooftop solar house germany - Tim Fuller flickr
Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Jun 25, 2015

Solar Net Metering a Subsidy to Utilities?

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/solar-net-metering-a-subsidy-to-utilities/

When Robert Nohavec of Park City, Utah; Jabbar Graham from Cherry Hill, New Jersey; and Don Born, of Waldoboro, Maine installed solar on their homes, they had something unexpected in common. They were all giving back to their electric company and their community. That’s because solar energy systems tend to provide more value to the… Continue reading

us power plant capacity additions quarterly ILSR 2015-0610
Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Jun 10, 2015

Distributed Solar Surges in Early 2015

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/distributed-solar-surges-in-early-2015/

Distributed solar was 13% of all new power plant capacity in 2014, and 2015 is starting off even bigger. Distributed residential and commercial solar installations surged 45% over the same period last year and accounted for 35% of all new power plant capacity in the first quarter of 2015. The following chart shows the quarterly… 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 https://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

minnesota state capitol solar program - michael hicks flickr
Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Mar 18, 2015

Why Minnesota’s Community Solar Program is the Best

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

I’ve been asked a lot of questions about Minnesota’s community solar program over the past couple years and it’s time to make one thing clear: Minnesota’s program is the best in the country. Why? Because there 10 times more community solar projects in the queue—400 megawatts—in Minnesota than have been built in the history of… 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 https://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

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Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Feb 27, 2015

Can a State’s Solar Party Start Without It?

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

In about half of U.S. states, an individual or business can have solar installed on their roof owned by someone else, and either buy the power or lease the array from that third party. These power purchase or lease models drastically simplify the process of going solar (at a price), avoiding the work of managing… Continue reading