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

Lots of Solar Power May Reduce, Not Increase, Electricity Prices

Date: 4 Apr 2012 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States | 3 Facebooktwitterredditmail

Whether German feed-in tariffs or U.S. tax incentives, opponents of solar rail at its perceived high cost. But a story making rounds this week, “why power generators are terrified of solar,” presents a powerful image that may flip this conventional wisdom on its head. Building lots of solar power can actually reduce electricity prices, to the … Read More

How Boulder Freed its Electric Company

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

Yes Magazine, March 26, 2012 Running their own utility means sun and wind energy instead of coal. by Valerie Schloredt The Boulder-Denver “Power Past Fossil Fuels” bike ride in September served also as a rally for the local utility initiative. Photo by Zane Selvans. The city of Boulder, Colo., has won the right to take its … 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

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