How Archaic Utility Rules Stall Local Solar [Infographic]

Date: 8 Aug 2012 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

Many people expect that solar power will dramatically expand once it bursts through the cost barrier and becomes less expensive than grid electricity.  But archaic utility rules can effectively cap local solar development at just 15% of peak demand.  Fortunately, pioneering states like Hawaii and California are exploring ways to lift the cap and bring utility … Read More

Four Charts Provide Distributed Solar Lessons from California

Date: 27 Jun 2012 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States | 1 Facebooktwitterredditmail

A new study for the California Public Utilities Commission explores the “Technical Potential for Local Distributed Photovoltaics in California.”  Basically, it’s one of the more in-depth analyses of local solar power in the country, suggesting that California has the capacity to add 15 gigawatts (GW) of local solar (20 megawatts and smaller) to its grid by … Read More

Overturning the ‘15% Rule’ Expands the Distributed Generation Opportunity in California

Date: 8 May 2012 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

If you haven’t heard yet, there’s a “rule” that precludes distributed renewable energy projects from supplying more than 15% of the power to most “distribution circuits” (part of the low-voltage electric grid that brings power into homes and businesses).  With the rapidly falling cost of solar power, many places in the country are starting to push … Read More

Is Today’s Energy Policy “Saving the Buggy Whip”?

Date: 20 Apr 2012 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

The editor’s column from the March 2012 edition of Public Utilities Fortnightly describes how policy inertia can hamper distributed renewable energy development.  To illustrate, Michael T. Burr draws on the history of the automobile: When the first Model-Ts sputtered down the street, few people could’ve imagined the remarkable transformations they’d bring. Instead, they only saw a … Read More

ILSR’s John Farrell Discusses How Solar Can Compete With Utilities

Date: 26 Mar 2012 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States, Media Coverage | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

Minnesota Public Radio, March 26, 2012 In this article, ILSR Senior Researcher John Farrell discusses how the coming of cheap solar may change everything. Most Americans think clean energy is futuristic — a good idea some day, but not practical now. But a new report from the Institute for Local Self Reliance suggests that within 10 … Read More

Solar Policy Can Advance (or Delay) Grid Parity by a Decade

Date: 23 Mar 2012 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

In their excellent interactive graphic, Bloomberg Energy Finance calls solar grid parity (when electricity from solar costs less than grid power) the “golden goal.”  It’s an excellent illustration of how the right energy policy can help a nation go gold on solar or wallow in metallurgical obscurity.  In the case of the U.S., it may mean … Read More

Get a Local Clean Energy Future by Trading-in the 20th Century Electric Grid

Date: 27 Feb 2012 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

In a New York Times SundayReview piece last week – Drawing the Line at Power Lines – Elisabeth Rosenthal suggested that our desire for clean energy will require significant tradeoffs: There are pipelines, trains, trucks and high-voltage transmission lines. None of them are pretty, and all have environmental drawbacks. But if you want to drive your … Read More

Electricity Priced by the Hour Boosts Distributed Solar Value by a Third or More

Date: 1 Feb 2012 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States | 1 Facebooktwitterredditmail

Updated 2/1/12 because I underestimated how the tiered pricing worked.  Thanks to bkarney at Renewable Energy World for the comment. Last week I wrote about the time-of-use pricing scheme that PG&E offers in San Francisco, and how solar power is worth 14% more compared to a standard flat-rate electricity plan.  In reality, it’s 36% or more … Read More

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