Some aspects of recent Illinois legislation and regulations shape the incentives and terms for community solar projects in the state. See the descriptions and resources under General Resources - Provisions for Community Solar in Illinois. This section provides additional descriptions and resources on Illinois legislation, regulations adopted by the Illinois Commerce Commission, and the Illinois Power Agency's Long-Term Renewable Resources Procurement Plan.
The Future Energy Jobs Act (FEJA) went into effect on June 1, 2017 and made significant improvements in moving Illinois to reduce harmful emissions from power generation, adopt renewable-energy solutions, and improve public health. One of the key aspects of the legislation dealt with increasing the State’s use of solar energy. The Illinois General Assembly found that “[d]eveloping community solar projects in Illinois will help to expand access to renewable energy resources to more Illinois residents.”
Under FEJA, over $180 million annually will be directed from utility and energy companies to build wind and solar facilities. Additionally, the law established nearly $200 million a year in Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) to incentivize local solar energy developments. In fact, 50% of RECs are for earmarked for community solar projects. These community solar projects make it possible for people who either can’t or don’t want to install their own solar panels to subscribe to a local solar project and in return get credits toward their electric bill.
Two state agencies are charged with regulating community solar projects: Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) and Illinois Power Agency (IPA).
The Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) regulates the interconnection and installation of “distributed generation facilities,” which includes community solar projects.
The ICC also reviews community solar tariffs filed by utilities, with provisions for net metering, indemnification, and other terms. See “ComEd community solar tariff approved by Illinois regulator” (Oct. 9, 2017).
The Illinois Power Agency (IPA) submits to the ICC for review and approval its annual electricity procurement plan. After public notice and comments, the ICC enters an order confirming or modifying the procurement plan. See The Illinois Power Agency’s Verified Petition for Approval of its 2019 Procurement Plan Pursuant to 220 ILCS5/16-111.5(d)(4) (Sept. 28, 2018); Illinois Commerce Commission’s Order on the Illinois Power Agency’s 2019 Procurement Plan (Nov. 26, 2018); Illinois Power Agency Final 2019 Electricity Procurement Plan (Jan. 4, 2019).
See materials on Illinois Power Agency's implementation of REC procurements and other programs in General Resources - Provisions for Community Solar in Illinois