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Author Archives: John Farrell

Hourly Electricity Pricing Boosts Value of Distributed Solar by 33%

January 30th, 2012 | by John Farrell

What if electricity cost more when the sun was shining? Many utilities are using new electronic "smart meters" to adjust the price of electricity as often as every hour, to reflect supply and demand. And charging more when electricity is in short supply can be good news, increasing the value of solar by 33% or more


Some Skepticism on Solar Thermal Power’s Storage Potential

January 24th, 2012 | by John Farrell

Earlier this month, New York Times reporter Matt Wald had a piece on the role of energy storage in supporting the expansion of renewable energy. However, his specific focus on solar thermal power generation overlooks the potentially high costs of relying on solar thermal power and also overlooks the potential for distributed “storehousing” of renewable energy.


Solar Getting Cheaper, But Not Equally

January 19th, 2012 | by John Farrell

In January 2011, I plotted the size of state solar markets against their average installed cost and found surprisingly little correlation. When Lawrence Berkeley Labs put out its 2011 version of Tracking the Sun (IV), it was possible to update the chart, which I did in two stages. The first chart simply overlays the 2010 average installed cost on the original chart, with arrows indicating the movement of the prices in most states (I ran out of room in the small market states). It's almost like a rainbow rain of falling solar prices.


Solar Grid Parity 101

January 12th, 2012 | by John Farrell

  Solar grid parity, when installing solar power will cost less than buying electricity from the grid, is considered the tipping


Gainesville, Florida, Becomes a World Leader in Solar

January 6th, 2012 | by John Farrell

You don't have to be big to go big on solar power. That's the lesson from the Gainesville Regional Utilities, the electric utility whose feed-in tariff solar policy has brought over 7 megawatts (MW) of solar to the city's 125,000 residents. The raw number isn't much, but it puts Gainesville among the world leaders in solar installed per capita, beating out Japan, France, and China (and besting California, with 32 kilowatts -kW- per 1000 residents).


Federal Tax Credits May Handcuff Clean Energy Development

January 4th, 2012 | by John Farrell

Clean energy advocates should cast aside their worries about increasing Republican scrutiny of energy subsidies. The clean energy industry's foolish reliance on tax incentives has already handcuffed its expansion. Unlike the leading nations in the clean energy race, the United States has no coherent energy policy.



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