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.

Non-panel costs make a bigger difference as solar energy gets cheap

Last week’s graphic on the impact of local permitting on the cost of solar power was a big hit, so here’s a follow-up on “soft costs,” the expenses in a solar installation (including permitting) that …

Local Permitting Makes a Bigger Difference as Solar Gets Cheap

Going solar keeps getting cheaper, but most of the cost savings have come from less expensive solar panels.  “Soft costs,” like permitting and inspections, are a rising share of the cost of a solar installation.  …

600 Investors in South Dakota’s Premier Community Wind Project

In this episode of Local Energy Rules, ILSR’s Director of Democratic Energy, John Farrell, speaks to Brian Minish, CEO of South Dakota Wind Partners about a community wind project that attracted over 600 local investors.  …

Uncovering the Cultural Barriers to Sustainability: a Eulogy for Jim Farrell

I spent the past two weeks saying goodbye to my father, Jim Farrell, so instead of my usual discussion of good policy and practices for distributed renewable energy, I’m taking time to explore how my dad’s …

The Community Solar ‘Holy Grail’?

Has a Carbondale, CO, company found the ‘holy grail’ of community renewable energy projects? In this podcast with with Paul Spencer, President and founder of the Clean Energy Collective (CEC) in Carbondale, CO, we explored how …

Is Solar Cheaper Than Grid Electricity? Yes. And No.

The word “parity” is to the solar advocate as the word “abracadabra” is to the magician.  Through it, all things are possible.  But there’s really two kinds of solar parity with electricity prices, and the …

Solar Costs and Grid Prices On a Collision Course

With the cost of solar continuing to fall rapidly (50% in the past five years) and electricity prices rising steadily, if slowly, the approach of solar grid parity is near. The following chart illustrates the …

The One Thing Obama’s Climate Policy Can’t Leave Out

When President Obama unveils his climate policy proposal in the coming days, he should focus on the one key element of successful climate and energy policy.  It’s not about utilities or incentives or numbers, it’s …

Three key features of Los Angeles’ new local solar program

Officially launched in January after years of development, a new CLEAN (feed-in tariff) program from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (the city’s municipal electric utility) promises 100 MW of new local renewable energy …

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