Report Released: Advantage Local – Why Local Energy Ownership Matters

Date: 24 Sep 2014 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States, Press Release | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

Solar and wind projects can mean big bucks for communities – but only if they keep them local! That’s a key takeaway from Advantage Local: Why Local Energy Ownership Matters, a new report from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR). The report shows that local control and ownership of renewable energy gives towns and cities a … Read More

Solar and the New (democratic) Energy Economy

Date: 19 Sep 2014 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

I spent three days this week with some of the biggest minds behind the “new economy” movement because their core theme – economic democracy – fits like a glove over ILSR’s work on democratic energy. The big takeaway? Solar power is the spark to energize a new energy economy from the bottom up. This new solar-sparked … Read More

Ultimate Solar Calculator “App” Helps You Choose: To Own or Lease?

Date: 4 Sep 2014 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States | 4 Facebooktwitterredditmail

Note: the “Ultimate Solar Calculator” has been updated and simplified. Stay tuned for an updated complex version of this same calculator. A few weeks ago I wrote about the comeback of solar ownership relative to leasing, as the cost of rooftop solar PV continues to fall and new financing options make ownership easier than ever. Is … Read More

Why Aren’t Rural Electric Cooperatives Champions of Local Clean Power?

Date: 18 Aug 2014 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States | 10 Facebooktwitterredditmail

When it comes to ownership, there are few better structures for keeping a community’s wealth local than a cooperative. So why is it that America’s rural electric cooperatives are tethered to dirty, old coal-fired power plants instead of local-wealth generating renewable power? There are a lot of answers to this question, but it might start with … Read More

With Liberty and Solar for All

Date: 1 Aug 2014 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States | 1 Facebooktwitterredditmail

For over 100 years, the American economy has been fueled by enormous expansion of fossil fuel energy. It has emitted a disproportionate share of its environmental impact (too much) and economic rewards (too few) on those less fortunate. More than any 21st century energy source, solar can power an equitable and environmentally sound energy future.  Solar … Read More

Is Solar Ownership Poised for a Comeback?

Date: 10 Jul 2014 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States | 1 Facebooktwitterredditmail

With “no money down” and “zero maintenance” to attract homeowners, solar leasing has become the overwhelming favorite for residential solar installations. And with the complexity of tax incentives, rebates, and financing, it’s hard to find fault with homeowners that choose this low-effort option. Update: We published our solar ownership calculator in September 2014. But giving up … Read More

Envisioning An Innovative Local Electric Utility – Episode 15 of Local Energy Rules Podcast

Date: 6 Feb 2014 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States, Podcast | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

Listen in to the podcast to hear Ken Regelson describe how the remarkable results of Boulder’s citizen-driven energy model have given them power to stand up to the incumbent electric monopoly with a vision for a 21st century clean energy system.… Read More

The High Cost of the Solar Middleman

Date: 9 Jan 2014 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States | 3 Facebooktwitterredditmail

If there’s no such thing as a free lunch, then how can Americans get solar on their roof with “zero money down” and lower their electric bill?  Solar leasing, as it’s often called, is a clever market solution to poor federal and state policy design that otherwise requires Americans to do financial acrobatics to power their … Read More

The #1 Solar Utility is in…Iowa? – Episode 12 of Local Energy Rules Podcast

Date: 5 Dec 2013 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States, Podcast | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

It may be one of the oldest cooperative utilities in the country, but in the next six months, Farmers Electric Cooperative (FEC) of southeastern Iowa will be leading the nation in this 21st century energy source. Upon completion of a new solar array, the 640-member cooperative will have over 1,500 Watts of solar per customer on their system, nearly double the #2 utility. It’s also the most reliable utility in Iowa. How can this small, member-owned utility in Kalona be “America’s Most Progressive Utility”?… Read More

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