Illinois is looking at three big solar bills this year that, if passed, will change the state’s energy landscape by putting solar panels on rooftops and fields across the state. These bills mean new jobs and a brighter economic outlook for Illinois.
The first bill, SB3686, would establish small steps to successfully reach the solar requirement in 2016 in the current Illinois Renewable Energy Standard. Starting in 2012 the state would develop 20 Megawatts of solar power and the amount would grow in achievable, bite sized pieces every year.
The second companion bill, HB6202, would expand the types of customers who qualify for net metering, a wonky-but-critical policy that helps consumers save money on their energy bills when they go solar. Net metering is a simple billing arrangement that allows solar customers to get equal credit for the excess electricity their solar panels generate during daytime hours. The current law limits net metering to residential systems below 40 kilowatts in size. That means office buildings, schools and factories can’t generate their own solar energy and “bank” it on the grid for times when the sun doesn’t shine. That’s no good for those energy customers and no good for a robust solar market.
The third bill, SB2505 allows new municipal programs that helps property owners make solar and efficiency improvements without upfront costss. Called Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing, cites across the country are starting up PACE programs to support a thriving new green economy. HB2505 will improve a PACE law passed last year and make it easier for Illinois cities to use.
We have a lot of work to do to get these bills passed and we’ll need your support to help make it happen!