The Illinois solar market was boosted by the Adjustable Block Program, now called Illinois Shines, a limited program that offers significant credits for renewable solar energy.
Solar energy in Illinois was virtually non-existent until 2019, when the Illinois Shines program was introduced, creating highly valued renewable solar energy credits that pay residential and commercial solar system owners based on the production of their system.
The state also introduced a municipal solar offering under Illinois Shines and has a healthy mix of residential, commercial, and municipal solar systems. The utilities sector had its landmark year in 2021 and this is expected to continue to accelerate. The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) projects that Illinois will add nearly 5 GW of solar power over the next five years, placing it in the top 10 states with prospects for solar development.
Illinois is driven by a strong renewable energy portfolio standard that calls for 25% of its electricity to come from renewable sources by 2025. The amount of solar capacity installed in Illinois is projected to grow more than 1,700% over the next five years, SEIA said. SEIA continues to actively promote “Path to 100” HB2966/SB 1781 in Illinois, which increases the renewable energy standard from 25% by 2025 to 40% by 2030 and renewable energy credit sourcing of 10 million credits by 2020 increased to 45 million in 2030 with 50/50 split of sun and wind.
Illinois Shines created the Adjustable Block Program, an incentive that provides solar owners with a renewable energy credit (SREC) for every MWh of electricity generated over a 15-year period. This translates to savings of $10,000 for an average residential solar system. The program offers a capped amount of solar capacity that the incentive is to be offered each year.
Illinois also offers net metering, in which the utility credits a customer for excess solar production that is sent to its distribution system. Net consumption charges vary by utility and customer type. In most cases, net metering credits do not roll over from year to year, which is why utilities recommend installing a system that covers about 85% of household needs. However, with a battery energy storage device connected, it can be economical to cover 100% of the house’s energy needs.
the solar calculator by SolarReviews provides insight into a home’s solar and savings potential based on current net consumption rates and other relevant costs and benefits.
The Illinois Solar For All program has created incentives for eligible low-income homeowners and renters for residential properties, properties that house non-profit and public organizations, and community solar projects. There are no upfront costs to participants and ongoing costs and fees will not exceed 50% of the value of the energy generated from the solar project.
Commercial and industrial customers are offered a system size based incentive by ComEd, one of the largest utility companies in Illinois. Systems with a capacity of 2,000 kW and below are offered for $250 per kW.
Like most states, Illinois exempts solar installations from property taxes. Like all states and territories, Illinois residents are offered the State Investment Tax Credit (ITC), which covers 30% of system costs. The ITC is now available to many customers as a direct payment under new provisions in the Anti-Inflation Act.
A brownfield site turned green at Ameresco and Inovateus Solar announced the completion of a 2.62 MW solar project on a redeveloped site. The project was built on a former General Motors powertrain division plant. The facility is owned by Greenbacker Renewable Energy Company, an independent power producer and green energy investment company.
The Danville solar project began construction in November 2020 and was completed in May 2022.
The project consists of over 6,600 solar panels and is connected to Ameren’s electricity grid. The completed project is expected to generate over 3.6 million kWh of electricity and offset over 1,500 tons of carbon dioxide annually, or the equivalent, to power 350 Illinois homes and take about 480 cars off the road each year.
“We can turn a serious problem into a tremendous opportunity by placing solar arrays in closed landfills,” said Tyler Kanczuzewski, vice president of sustainability at Inovateus. “The Danville solar project productively uses land that would otherwise lie fallow and avoids construction in more pristine areas.”
This project contributes to Illinois’ Future Energy Jobs Act requiring 2.7 GW of solar energy to be installed in Illinois by 2030 and that 2% of these projects will be installed on brownfield sites.
Look for a feature article on the US push for cleantech brownfield restoration in the upcoming February print issue of PV Magazine.
The previous stop on the PV Magazine Government Incentives Tour was in Michiganand next the tour will stop in Indiana.
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