Community Solar Gardens Sprouting in Minnesota

On April 7, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission resoundingly rejected (click the link for an annotated ruling) a severely lacking community solar gardens proposal from Xcel Energy and required substantial improvements for the utility’s revised filing.

The regulatory smack-down means a promising community solar market for Minnesota (scroll down for the infographic version).



The Basics

Advocates worked hard to make it easy to establish community solar projects, and the following basic rules apply:

The Power of the Collective Energy Purchasing – Episode 20 of Local Energy Rules

“We can’t do it as an individual, But four hundred communities aggregating and asking for local wind power and solar power – that’s really powerful.”

PATH Abandonment Case Moving Forward Again at FERC

Over a year ago, AEP/FirstEnergy began the process of trying to “recover” what they claim is $120 million that PJM rate payers, including rate payers in WV, owe them for the stranded costs in their failed PATH transmission project.  Here is my main post on the case from December 2012.

DC Water Turning Sewage Into Electricity, Building Decentralized Power

I have talked a lot about how the electric power industry has begun a major campaign against decentralized solar power.  Well, here is a really scary story for power companies.

How Democratic Energy Fits the Rural Electric Philosophy

placeholderThe following presentation was given by ILSR’s Director of Democratic Energy John Farrell at the Electrons on the Run mini-conference in Alexandria, MN, on March 12, 2014.  The presentation illustrates how distributed renewable energy in the 21st century fits the rural electric utility philosophy of self-reliance and local economic development, just as providi

An Enormous 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 war on this “value of solar” policy, and pretty much every financial model for compensating solar energy producers that isn’t net metering.

Minnesota’s Value of Solar

In March 2014, Minnesota became the first state to adopt a “value of solar” policy. It may fundamentally change the financial relationship between electric utilities and their energy-producing customers. It may also serve as a precedent for setting a transparent, market-based price for solar energy. This report explains the origins of value of solar, the compromises made to get the policy adopted in Minnesota, and the potential impact on utilities and solar energy producers.

WV PSC Asleep at the Wheel, Missing Lowest Cost Electricity Option

Well, here’s another report clearly illustrating that the cost of energy efficiency investments is far less expensive than all other forms of electricity generation.  Here is a chart from the recent ACEEE report on comparative levelized cost of EE versus construction of new electricity generation:

WV PSC Focused on Wrong Electricity Number

On April 1, the WV PSC issued yet another press release touting WV’s relatively low electric rates. The PSC and the WV Consumer Advocate (and the WV coal industry) love to crow about WV’s low rates, but they are looking at the wrong number.