Originally published on ILSR.org
In 2016, the Illinois Legislature passed the groundbreaking Future Energy Jobs Act (FEJA) with bipartisan support. The legislation includes strategies to make solar energy more accessible to low and moderate income communities through community solar projects, rooftop solar, and brownfield solar. Through the Illinois Shines program, the legislature created opportunities for citizens to have access to solar energy without putting solar panels on their roofs. FEJA also establishes a state goal for 100% renewable energy by 2050.
Illinois meets three out of four of ILSR’s principles of a good community solar program. The four principles include tangible benefits, flexible ownership, an increase in renewables, and access to all.
In accordance with the Future Energy Jobs Act, the Illinois Power Agency and Illinois Commerce Commission are responsible for creating equitable community solar programs. To do so, the Illinois Power Agency purchases Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) from projects and sets prices through a lottery-style Adjustable Block Program. Illinois needs the credits to meet Renewable Portfolio Standard requirements. Illinois Power Agency is to purchase renewable energy credits from an estimated 400 megawatts of community solar (to be developed by 2030).
Watch the top state community solar programs progress in our National Community Solar Programs Tracker.
A Program that Reacts to the Market
The adjustable block program is a state-administered solar incentive program facilitating new photovoltaic distributed generation development and community solar projects through the issuance of renewable energy credits provided in the first 15 years of operation. A “block” is a pre-established amount of capacity available for a certain type of project with set REC prices. The purpose of blocks is to establish a progression of price levels based on the response of the market. Illinois estimates that 1,000,000 RECs will be delivered annually by the end of the 2020-2021 delivery year, demonstrating ILSR’s third principle of a good program, increasing renewables.
The Adjustable Block