Last Updated: September 2018
What is Illinois Solar for All?
Illinois Solar for All is a program designed to increase access to solar for those who have historically been least able to access the benefits of clean energy, but could benefit from them most--economically disadvantaged and frontline environmental justice communities. The program was created as a major part of Illinois’s Future Energy Jobs Act that passed in 2016. The Future Energy Jobs Act mandates that Illinois Solar for All programs provide “tangible energy and economic benefits 1 ” to participating low-income customers, and it directs solar developers to involve meaningful input from low-income community members whenever possible. Illinois Solar for All’s Low-Income Community Solar Project Initiative is its largest segment.
What defines an Illinois Solar for All Community Solar Project?
Solar for All community solar projects emerge from partnerships between solar developers and community stakeholders, who determine the location, development, and subscriber participation in the project together. These projects will also offer additional assistance for low-income customers to subscribe to or claim partial ownership of the project. The program also pays special attention to environmental justice communities, defined as communities that are suffering from disproportionate social and environmental burdens.
What does this mean for me and Solar in the Community?
Any project that is proposed on the Solar in the Community platform can be designated as a Solar for All program. This notes that the project’s sponsor 1) aims to form a partnership between an approved developer and a community-based organization for the purposes of defining the terms of the community solar project, and 2) energy and savings from the project will flow toward low-income ratepayers. (in this case, ‘low-income’ is defined as less than or equal to 80% of the area’s median income) 2 . Subscribers may connect to these projects in the same way as any other project--the differences are likely to emerge once the project acquires subscribers and a developer. The Illinois Power Agency will select an organization to administer the Illinois Solar for All program in September 2018, and the program will open in March or April, 2019. Check out the Illinois Power Agency’s website for the most up-to-date information on the program.