While 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.