Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has signed new legislation that promotes the installation of distributed solar power systems in Illinois by making the State a buyer of solar power.
The law (HB 2427) includes an amendment that calls for the Illinois Power Agency to spend up to $30 million for purchasing solar power to meet the state‚Äôs electric power needs.
The funding for solar power purchase will come from the agency‚Äôs Renewable Energy Resources Fund, which gets the clean energy fees paid by power companies in Illinois.
What the solar power amendment included in HB 2427 does is to establish a competitive procurement process under which the State will purchase solar-generated power from existing solar power systems and new installations.
To be specific, the Illinois Power Agency Act is amended to include a supplemental procurement process for procuring renewable energy credits from new or existing photovoltaics, with $30 million from the Renewable Energy Resources Fund to be used for this purpose.
The law emphasizes development of distributed solar generation systems such as solar panels on residential rooftops by specifying that a percentage of the funding allocated should be set aside for purchasing distributed solar power.
‚ÄúThousands of residents will soon get cheaper, cleaner energy, and we will create good paying jobs for working families in the process. It‚Äôs this sort of innovation that has made Illinois a national leader in clean energy production,‚Äù said Gov. Quinn.
The law is effective immediately, and will benefit utility-scale solar projects too. But the emphasis is on distributed solar power purchase that could lead to thousands of new residential solar panel installation projects being undertaken. Homeowners will be able to generate solar power for their own use and further reduce electric bills by selling excess power to the grid.
State Senator Don Harmon, one of the sponsors of the bill, said that increasing the investment in clean energy creates jobs, protects the environment and reduces dependence on fossil fuels.
Senator Harmon added that wind energy has taken off in Illinois over the past few years, and their hope is that this investment will start a similar revolution in solar energy.