With the passing of the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (also known as CEJA), motivation for solar has never been so good. This new legislation means Illinois, “The Prairie State,” aims to run on 50% renewable energy by 2040. They want to generate completely carbon-free electricity by 2045. Subsequently, with this bold act, Illinois leads the pack in enacting climate change, cleaning up pollution for its citizens, and creating loads of jobs.
Let’s do a rundown for this monumental plan and check out some of the great things that are coming for solar energy in Illinois.
How the Illinois Climate and Equitable Jobs Act Measures Up
100% clean electricity and 50% renewable energy generation might seem like a dream in the sky. That’s because these goals are quite the ambitious undertaking for a state that only had about 11% of their energy generated from renewable sources in 2019. But Illinois is back with a vengeance in the sustainable energy game. If you’re in Illinois, here’s some of the good stuff heading your way.
Goal: Stamp Out Carbon Pollution
The CEJA aims to retire the use of fossil fuels for energy production completely, which will result in drastic changes for pollution in the state. By 2045, Illinois wants to reach the goal of 100% zero-emissions for their power sector. But not everyone is so happy about the news. A bold, yet doable goal like this one means going toe-to-toe with one of Illinois’ largest pollution producers, the Prairie State Coal Plant. This legislation enables Illinois to join other states, like California and New Mexico, who have required a carbon-free power sector.
Since Illinois is asking such a transformative request, the legislation is providing means to ease the transition from coal to solar and other renewable energy projects. A whopping $280.5 million will be designated for sites that are retiring coal plants in the state. This includes grants of up to $110,000 per megawatt of energy storage capacity that will also be made available.
In addition to these great features, the plan also intends to tackle pollution in the transportation sector. For proud owners of the Ford Mustang Mach-E or others interested in EVs, you’ll be happy to know that a sizable upgrade is in the works to the electric vehicle charging infrastructure!
Illinois is putting their money where their mouth is. While Illinois already has over 115,000 jobs in clean energy, the CEJA will provide funding for the expansion of all sectors of clean energy, subsequently supplying more well-paying jobs to the economy.
According to SEIA, Illinois aims for the creation of more than 4GW of utility-scale solar, as well as 5.8GW of rooftop and community solar. But the bill doesn’t stop there.
This plan also supplies about $40 million to sustain economic development and job training initiatives for displaced workers and communities that are negatively impacted by these changes. A great push towards renewable energy will require a workforce big enough to hit deadlines and create thousands of jobs.
Goal: Make Clean Energy Cost-effective
While a cleaner environment and an expanded job market are fantastic perks, the CEJA wants to make the use of clean energy more affordable for everyone.
Here are some of the ways this bill will hold electricity companies accountable:
- Utility companies profit only when they achieve clean energy goals
- Transparent electric grid and transmission planning
- Upgrade grid to expand capacity for electric vehicles and buildings
- Boost renewable energy credits
That’s right, Illinois. Let’s make going solar a top-tier choice for many!
Illinois Solar Incentives
Going solar is the best way to save money and increase property value on your home. While clean energy for all is the gift that keeps on giving, let’s take a look at some of the sunnier highlights of the Illinois Climate and Equitable Jobs Act.
Adjustable Block Program
Illinois has instituted an adjustable block program, often called Illinois Shines. By June 2022, the Illinois Power Agency will receive about 2.5 million new renewable energy credits (RECs). In order to guarantee the growth of renewable energy in the state, the CEJA also secures an additional 3.8 million new RECs per year between 2022 and 2030. These credits will be divided using an adjustable block program. This program will distribute them among community and brownfield solar projects and wind energy. You can also add utility-scale solar adaptations, as well as rooftop and residential solar to that list.
For solar specifically, homeowners can receive one solar renewable energy credit (sREC). Its value is calculated by the amount of solar energy you produce over 15 years times the price set by the Illinois Power Agency for REC’s.
Find out how much your SREC is worth by contacting a trained solar specialist today!
Utility Rebates and Net Metering
While we’re sure you’ve heard all of the benefits of a net metering program, this legislation provides even more. Net metering is basically when your utility company buys back your unused energy.
For customers who qualify for net metering, have installed capacity for energy storage, and distributed generation, the utility company has to provide $300 per kilowatt per hour. For customers who aren’t eligible for net metering, they must provide a $250 per kilowatt per hour rebate.
By the end of 2024, the Illinois Commerce Commission will set a new value. For now, solar savings are ripe for the picking.
Federal Solar Tax Credit
There are many options for reducing the out-of-pocket costs for going solar. Currently, even the federal government is offering an investment tax credit (ITC) that shaves off the cost of going solar for those who qualify. Up to 30% of this incentive could be claimed on your federal income taxes for the cost of a solar photovoltaic (PV) system.
Perks for Homeowners in Illinois
With the passing of one iconic bill, Illinois has become a nation-leader. The CEJA will greatly advance Illinois’ energy infrastructure. By creating jobs that facilitate a sustainable income and widespread renewable energy, solar has become more accessible to its residents. Yes, Illinois is shining brightly these days, but so can you.