John Farrell, The Force Behind Local Self Reliance


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Googleplex Solar Rooftop Power (credit: Steve Jurvetson, creative commons 2.0)

Recall our earlier post on “Are We Moving Fast Enough Toward Solar-Wind-Geothermal-Biomass“and the fact that Solar’s rank of 2  may had been impressive, but the actual solar power capacity generated during 2013 is much greater than the reported  2,936 MW, which did not include the distributed solar (rooftop solar power systems) installed in 2013.  So, in today’s post, I would like to introduce you to the expert in the field of distributed solar and renewable energy, John Farrell, Director of Democratic Energy at ILSR (Institute For Local Self-Reliance) and his significant contribution to better understanding of local ownership and dispersed generation of renewable energy. He has researched and written extensively on the economies of scale of renewable energy, the benefits of decentralized energy generation, and policies that support locally owned and distributed generation of renewable energy. His background in public policy, research, communication, and mathematics provides the strength that is rarely seen in most policy makers.

John Farrell has authored Rooftop Revolution: Changing Everything With Cost-Effective Local Solar, ” Energy Self-Reliant States“, a state-by-state atlas of renewable energy potential indicating that most states don’t need to go outside of their borders to meet their electricity needs. His insight on the economic advantages of “Democratizing the Electricity System” shows us the way to remove the roadblocks to distributed renewable energy generation and how such small-scale renewable energy projects are critical for big strides in renewable energy development. It is also encouraging to find, through his landmark report of “Energy Self-Reliant States”, at least 60% of the fifty states  could meet all their internal electricity needs from renewable energy generated inside their borders. Every state with a renewable mandate can meet it with in-state renewable fuels. “Federal policy should encourage all states, communities, individual households and businesses to maximize their internal use of this ubiquitous resource.  Such a policy would reinforce the clear desire for states and cities to combine a low carbon energy strategy with an aggressive energy-based economic development strategy.” was his conclusion. His latest report, “City Power Play-8 Practical Local Energy Policies to Boost the Economy” is strongly recommended to be read by  politicians, policy makers, consumers, local energy leaders, to improve future energy policies.

Mr. Farrell is a valuable expert for information and insight on distributed local solar and renewable energy generation. He can be reached by email at or via twitter @johnffarrell .
We need more people such as John Farrell in the Solar and Renewable Energy Front.

Even though Mr. John Farrell is an excellent speaker and teacher, I would have liked to ask more questions and give you an even more extensive interview….but my cold got the better of me. I promise you I will try to catch Mr. John Farrell  at a later time for more updates and questions on Minnesota’s implementation of Value of Solar Tariff policy.

~have a bright and sunny day~

sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker

Gathered, written, and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker

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