Vermont’s Streamlined Solar Permitting

Date: 7 Jun 2012 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

The state of Vermont has come up with a good rule for reducing the cost of solar power installations. A national study recently found that local permitting can increase the cost of residential solar by 15-20%, a problem that becomes more pressing as the cost of solar hardware falls. Vermont’s rule shifts the burden of permitting … Read More

An Energy Switch, Waiting to be Flipped

Date: 23 May 2012 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States, Media Coverage | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

Minneapolis Star Tribune – May 23, 2012 Minnesota spends more than $20 billion a year on energy — primarily importing polluting fossil fuels — and the state’s utilities typically lobby against decreasing our dependency. This hampers our economy and harms our environment. Fortunately, cities don’t have to rely on the Legislature to stand up for more-efficient … Read More

Technological Complications of Energy Storage

Date: 21 May 2012 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States | 6 Facebooktwitterredditmail

In the long run, there’s no avoiding energy storage for a 100% renewable energy society.  The two major sources of renewable power are wind and sun, and they are either fickle or reliably not available at night. The problem is that the simplest energy storage option for electricity is batteries, and this image from Wikipedia (hat … Read More

We Need Energy From Many Sources

Date: 17 May 2012 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States, Media Coverage | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

Florida Times-Union, May 17, 2012 There are a few key principles to remember about energy: As more of the world moves to the middle class, energy needs will grow enormously. “The absolute numbers are staggering,” writes Daniel Yergin, author of “The Quest: Energy, Security and the Remaking of the Modern World.” He provides deep background on … Read More

Could Securitization Democratize Solar Power?

Date: 14 May 2012 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States | 1 Facebooktwitterredditmail

After Wall Street popularized the term “mortgage-backed securities” in their destruction of the economy in 2008, you could be forgiven for thinking “solar securities” are a pyramid scheme.  But in truth, they may hold the key to democratizing the financing and the ownership of distributed renewable energy. Right now, financing solar typically means looking for a … Read More

Who Has the Most Cost-Effective Solar Feed-in Tariff?

Date: 4 May 2012 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States | 7 Facebooktwitterredditmail

In a forthcoming report on U.S. feed-in tariff programs, I’ll provide a comparison of solar feed-in tariff (FIT, a.k.a. CLEAN Contract) rates across the United States. Comparing published rates is not particularly helpful, however, because contract lengths vary (from 15 to 25 years) and the solar resource also varies widely.  For international comparisons (e.g. Germany), it’s also … Read More

Watch: Ontario’s Feed-in Tariff Program is a Good Investment

Date: 16 Apr 2012 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

ILSR Senior Researcher John Farrell gave this presentation remotely to the Ontario Power Perspectives conference on April 16, 2012.  He was supposed to be there in person, but he forgot to renew his passport.  The presentation highlights how Ontario’s “buy local” rule, bonuses for community ownership and focus on distributed generation make their feed-in tariff program … Read More

Net Metering a Cost to Utilities, or a Benefit?

Date: 11 Apr 2012 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States | 1 Facebooktwitterredditmail

Update: A third-party study of net metering in California also found that solar customers provide more benefit than cost to the utility Utilities often claim that allowing customers to run their meter backward (by generating electricity on-site, e.g. from rooftop solar) can affect their bottom line because these customers don’t pay enough to cover the cost … Read More

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