Illinois Solar Rebates and Incentives

Illinois Renewable Energy Credit Aggregation Program

Program Type Performance-Based Incentive
Technologies Photovoltaics
Amount $0.135 per kW hour generated. Maximum of $22,950
Required Documentation Illinois Solar Energy Association (ISEA) membership in good standing and an Annual application
Official Web Site

ISEA offers member with photovoltaic systems its Renewable Energy Credit Aggregation Program (RECAP). Under the RECAP program, members are able to receive payment for SRECs by generating a megawatt hour, 1,000 kW hours, of electricity with their PV system. As of 2009, enrollees received $65 for each SREC they produced. Applicants are notified at the beginning of the year how much they will be credited for their production capacity.

To be eligible, enrollees must submit a yearly application and maintain a membership in ISEA. The program is limited to installed PV systems up to 10 kW in size; the PV system must be located in the state of , and the system’s production must be tracked on a monthly basis.

RECAP was created through a partnership with Community Energy, Inc. and the state’s solar energy association. According to ISEA, “ISEA members SREC’s are used to supply the solar portion of the award winning City of Naperville Renewable Energy Program. This partnership is the first market example of SREC transactions within Illinois.”

Illinois Net Metering

Program Type Net Metering
Technologies Photovoltaics and other renewables 
Amount Credited to customer at retail rate
Required Documentation Applicants must apply with their investor-owned utility
Official Web Site

Illinois’ net-metering program began April 1, 2008. Under the state’s law, investor-owned utilities, Commonwealth Edison, the Ameren Illinois Utilities, and MidAmerican Energy Co. must now credit program enrollees with renewable energy systems for electricity their system supplies to the grid. And utilities must credit customer at the retail rate for the produced electricity.

The utilities held open enrollment for their net-metering programs between April 1 and May 1, 2008. After the open-enrollment season, applications have been accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis until distributed generation at the utility reaches 1 percent or more of the previous year’s peak demand.

Under the state’s net-metering law, customers are eligible to receive a one-to-one retail rate credit for renewable energy generation of 40 kW or less (Most Illinois homes can provide for all their energy needs with a 5 kW PV system.). Larger systems, those between 40 kW and 2 megawatts, receive credits equal to the utility's avoided cost for excess generation. These customers may also enroll in a time-of-use program through which they are paid at time-of-use rates. Generation credits are carried over month-to-month, between either the 12 month period of May to April, or November to October, at the customer's discretion.

Potential savings depend on how much energy is generated by the system. But all net-metered customers in Illinois must pay fixed interconnection fees to connect to the electric grid. Other states have waived such fees.

Residential customers net meter through a bi-directional meter, provided to them by the utility if their meter can’t operate in both directions. Customers with systems larger than 40 kW must purchase a dual-channel meter.

Net-metered customers retain ownership and title to all renewable-energy credits and greenhouse-gas credits associated with customer generation and can sell such credits as they choose.

DCEO Solar and Wind Energy Rebate Program

Program Type Rebate
Technologies Photovoltaics, Solar Water Heat, Solar Space Heat, Solar Pool Heating, and Wind
Amount Maximum of $50,000 per project
Required Documentation Application form submitted prior to installing system and Letter of completion
Official Web Site

The renewable rebate program is funded by Illinois’ Renewable Energy Resources Trust Fund and administered by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. The state has offered the program since 1997. As of September 2010, all funds available through the program for the year 2010 have been reserved. According to the state, the program and its funding level for 2011 were not finalized. But information about funding for 2011 will be posted at the program’s Web page. Interested parties may also contact Wayne Hartel with the commerce department at (217) 785-3420 to learn more.

Under the first-come, first-serve program, individuals, businesses, nonprofits, and the public sector may apply for the incentive, which was capped at $50,000 per individual award in 2010. When available, the state offered those installing residential and commercial solar systems a rebate of up to 30 percent of the total system and its installation costs. Nonprofit entities and government entities could qualify for a rebate of up to 50 percent of system and installation costs. According to the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency, the program only offered $1.3 million in funds for 2009.

To be eligible for the state rebate, applicants must contribute a minimum of 25 percent of the project cost. Other incentive programs, like the federal incentive program, can be used with the state rebate as long as the incentives cover no more than 75 percent of the system’s total costs.
The program does not set a ceiling for system size. But PV and wind systems must be at least 1 kW in size. Solar-thermal systems, including solar thermal electric generators, must be designed to produce at least 50,000 Btus per day or contain at least 60 square feet of collectors.

Illinois encourages, but does not require, applicants to submit their applications prior to purchasing a system. If the department determines that the system is eligible it will issue a "Notice to Proceed" letter. Funding is reserved for 120 days from the date of the application. After receiving the funding, applicants have another 120 days to install the system and submit a completion letter and other required documentation.

Illinois Rebates and Incentives Summary

IllinoisWhile Illinois is now working to increase its foray into sustainability, it’s not likely to claim the title of Don Green anytime soon—California’s likely got dibs on that one for now. That being said, the state is working to increase renewable energy with various incentive programs, which are offered both to its residents and businesses in the state.

Illinois has long been considered a bellwether state and, as recently as 2007, was labeled “the most average state.” Both of which add importance to the state’s commitment to renewable energy, since other states are likely to follow suit.

Illinois is the heart of the Midwest and home to Chicago, the windy city. The city harbors about 65 percent of the state’s population and accounts for only a small fraction of the state’s land mass. In that aspect, it’s a lot like New York City—outsiders think of the whole state as a city. But unlike New York, Illinois has greater potential for solar power. In fact, the majority of the state gets an average of about five hours of direct sunlight a day. That’s more than enough to justify installing solar power throughout the state. Illinois has realized this potential and offers numerous incentives to help residents and its utilities adopt renewable energy.

To help develop its solar and other renewable resources, Illinois’ government has implemented a relatively stringent renewable energy standard (RES). The RES requires energy suppliers in the state to source at least 25 percent of their power from renewables by the 2024-2025 compliance year.

To further speed adoption of renewable energy sources, the state offers residents and businesses tax breaks for buying and installing renewables like solar. Illinois offers a net-metering program to residents who feed excess energy generated by their photovoltaic (PV) or other renewable energy systems back to the electric grid. The state also offers rebates to residents that install renewable energy like wind or solar and allows for PACE (Property-Assed Clean Energy) Financing. Though, as of Sept. 1, 2010, no communities offer such a program.

Illinois Solar Power Financial Incentives

Financial Incentives

Green Building Incentive

Private Grant Program

Production Incentive

Property Tax Assessment

Property Tax Exemption

State Grant Program

State Rebate Program

Utility Rebate Program

Rules, Regulations & Policies

Building Energy Code

Energy Standards for Public Buildings

Generation Disclosure

Green Power Purchasing/Aggregation


Net Metering

Public Benefits Fund

Renewables Portfolio Standard

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