The Illinois Adjustable Block Program has great news for homeowners currently using or considering adding solar power to their home. With the passing of the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act, or CEJA, Illinois homeowners have even more reasons to add solar panels to their roofs. CEJA aims to reduce carbon pollution, create more clean energy jobs and training opportunities, and to make clean energy more affordable and accessible.
The sun always seems to shine brightly when you’ve got a dazzling set of solar panels generating clean, affordable energy for your home. Through this legislation, the local government is providing access to solar panels, and some homeowners are positioned to reap benefits for years to come. Along with a host of environmental benefits, people are learning that Illinois solar can be just as accessible as it is valuable.
Here’s how CEJA is changing the landscape for solar energy.
The Illinois Climate and Equitable Jobs Act
In September of 2021, The state of Illinois set the very ambitious goal of running on 100% renewable energy by 2050. Illinois joins several other states such as California and New Mexico in establishing aggressive environmental goals that require a carbon-free power sector. Several large cities have also stepped up their environmental efforts and established similar goals. Currently, Illinois is a part of the 23 U.S. states that have adopted 100% carbon-free electricity goals. But this is just the beginning.
As a lynchpin in the Land of Lincoln’s efforts to reach their goals, CEJA established several incentives to promote the adoption of solar power throughout the state.
The Three Heavy Hitters for Clean Energy
For Illinois, this massive commitment to clean energy and decarbonization means that CEJA has several bold changes in store for Illinois residents. Here are a few notable ones:
- Renewable Portfolio Standard Program – Did someone say “a solar boost’? Through this program, the Illinois Power Authority must reach 40% renewable energy by 2030 and 50% by 2040. This offers Illinois solar panel incentives to homeowners, but more on that later. CEJA also requires that utility-scale wind and solar projects have project labor agreements that secure wages for all non-residential wind and solar projects. Funding for this program was doubled in the finalized version of CEJA.
- Decarbonization Initiatives – CEJA is making strides to stamp out fossil fuels in the Illinois power sector. According to the report from the influential Business Owners and Managers Association of Chicago, “Municipal coal plants (CWLP and Prairie State Generating Campus) must reduce emissions by 45 percent by 2035.” If they miss that goal, they have three more years to hit the target or close one of their generating plants. All private-owned coal and oil-fired electric generating units must be closed by January 1, 2045. With the state’s ambitious goals in place, the legislation is providing a means to support the transition from coal to solar.
- Workforce Expansion – An expansion of renewable energy generation means an increase in the necessary workforce to make this transition not only possible, but sustainable. The Energy Transition Assistance Fund and the Clean Jobs Workforce Network Hubs Program will provide resources for education and the foundation for a career in clean energy.
For more information, check out BOMA Chicago’s succinct guide to everything CEJA. Or, save yourself the hassle and contact one of our Solar Energy Specialists today!
The Three Knockout Illinois Solar Panel Incentives
The innovative CEJA aims to take the Illinois power grid to a whole new green level with new incentives for residential, community, and commercial solar projects.
Let’s take a look at the Adjustable Block Program and a few other Illinois solar panel incentives.
#1 The Illinois Adjustable Block Program
The Adjustable Block Program, also known as Illinois Shines, is managed by the Illinois Power Agency. It offers incentives for residents through the purchase of Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) for distributed solar generation.
RECs are a kind of societal credit for generating energy using green methods and they operate in addition to any money earned by selling excess power to the grid, or net-metering. Through this initiative, homeowners can earn Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs) for every block of energy their home solar system produces. Illinois Shines provides a set price for the purchase of each SREC through 15-year contracts from qualifying solar array projects.
A block is a predetermined amount of capacity available for a specific project. Funding and cost will be determined at a set price for RECs. This system is intended to transition from one price level to another based on the market response. A similar program, which fostered new solar energy generation and made it easier for more people to use solar energy, was started in January 2019, but reached its funding capacity less than two years later. The renewed commitment to the program, along with the long-term contracts associated with the effort, are encouraging signs for the future of solar in Illinois.
#2 Illinois Solar for All
The Illinois Solar for All Program has seen a funding increase to $50 million through CEJA. Instrumental in the development of solar projects in low-income residential neighborhoods, this program makes solar energy more accessible to communities that might not have previously had access to it. It supports community solar initiatives and funds residential distributed generation projects for Illinois homeowners who might not have otherwise been able to afford the transition.
Illinois Solar for All facilitates greater access to clean energy through equitable participation to the following communities:
- Income-eligible homeowners and renters
- Non-profit organizations
- Public facilities that serve disenfranchised communities
- Environmental justice initiatives
Another perk of participation is that eligible participants will have no costs upfront. Ongoing expenses will also not exceed 50% of the value of the energy generated from the solar system.
Read about all the new advancements that have resulted from this program.
Wondering about which net metering programs are available in Illinois? Net metering results in a credit on your power bill based on the difference between how much energy your solar system produces and how much power your home consumes. If your solar panel system produced more energy than you used, you’ll be credited for the excess energy on your bill.
What the Illinois Solar Program Could Mean for You
Of course, there’s much more going on with solar energy in Illinois. But CEJA is a great step forward for Illinois homeowners. These programs are designed to support development of new distributed generation and community solar projects in Illinois.
Participating in Illinois Shines means your home plays a vital role in helping Illinois meet its renewable energy goals. If you want to learn more about the CEJA Adjustable Block Program, contact one of our knowledgeable Solar Energy Specialists today!