John Farrell

John Farrell is the author of Energy Self-Reliant States and a senior researcher at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, where he focuses on renewable energy policy.

Climate & Energy

Palo Alto’s utility now provides guilt-free electricity

The Palo Alto municipal utility is carbon neutral.

Show Me Solar: Missouri’s Opportunity for Solar Power

What can solar power do for a single state? How about 21% of its energy, $14 billion in economic activity, and over 150,000 jobs. At a discount to existing electricity costs. Without subsidies. That’s what solar power can do for …

A David and Goliath Fight to Tap World Class Solar

“It’s the most inspirational work that I’m doing…this is an inspirational and aspirational effort…at the heart of it is love of place and energy democracy.” Mariel Nanasi and the citizens of Santa Fe, NM, are exploring the economic and environmental …

The high cost of the solar middleman

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 …

How to Phase Out Incentives and Grow Solar Energy

Over the next decade, solar electricity will let consumers get cheaper energy from their rooftop than from their utility. Among the upheaval in the electricity system, the coming of solar “grid parity” means re-thinking incentives for solar energy. The success …

How solar energy cuts electric grid costs

With solar power, “we can avoid that $100 million investment in transmission lines, distribution lines, in capital infrastructure…” That was Vice President of Environmental Affairs Michael Deering of the Long Island Power Authority in a remarkable podcast interview, explaining how …

The Opportunity to Overturn Three Costly Values in Our Energy System

Earlier this year I worked as an election judge for the city of Minneapolis.  It was the city’s second experience with ranked choice voting, a system where instead of voting for a single candidate, you get to pick your top …

A Big Question for ‘Solar Choice’

Two weeks ago, Minnesota’s Public Utilities Commission ratified the first-ever statewide policy for setting a fair and transparent price on solar energy. This week, a coalition of companies that provide leasing contracts for solar to home and business customers declared …

Can a Fair Price for Solar Energy Win Over Utilities?

In March 2014, Minnesota became the first state to adopt a “value of solar” policy to set a fair, transparent price on solar energy. It may serve as a national precedent and fundamentally change the financial relationship between electric utilities …