ISEA's Legislative Goals Continued

18 Jan 2011 7:30 PM | Anonymous

Thank you to everyone who attended Solar Drinks last Tuesday, Jan. 11th!  With over 40 guests in attendance, the evening provided an opportunity for renewable energy professionals in the Chicago area to meet and share ideas with one another.  A special thank you to Lisa Albrecht and Jeremy Jones for presenting on the evening’s topic, renewable energy policy!  Great discussions ensued over solar installations, upcoming legislation and what we can do.  Remember to mark your calendars for our next Solar Drinks on March 8th at Eastgate Café.  Financing Solar will be the evening’s topic.  Register here for Solar Drinks.

In keeping with the topic of policy, ISEA works with the Environmental Law and Policy Center to create annual legislative goals.  The following are a few of these goals for 2011 (check out our previous blog for other objectives):

1. Creating an Alternative Compliance Payments or other penalty for non-compliance with the Renewable Portfolio Standards (applicable to Alternative Retail Energy Suppliers).  This would ensure that all retail suppliers comply with the RPS requirement that 6% of electric sales (in 2011) come from renewables.  If they do not comply, they will be penalized.

2. Working with PACE financing if the federal nationwide lien position issue is resolved.  While the PACE program is currently at a standstill, this program provides a financing model for energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements to homes and commercial buildings.  Not familiar with PACE? Take a look at our previous blog, “PACE Program Update” to learn more.

3. Elimination or avoidance of the 2% rate cap on renewable expenditures.  The rate cap was put in place until 2011, at which time the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) is to report to the General Assembly if the 2% rate cap "unduly constrains the procurement of cost-effective renewable energy resources."  The ISEA & ELPC believe the rate cap does constrain procurement and recommend it be eliminated.

Want to learn about other renewable energy legislation?  Check out our Policy page.

And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter for solar energy updates!

Webinar Q&A

Q: There is a 2% limit on rate increases. Are you sure this is not a problem? The rate increase is in reference to the total procurement, so we do not anticipate it being an issue.

Q: I am a homeowner. Your invitation stated you may have some new information concerning Gov. Rauner's budget. That's what I'm particularly interested in. The proposed budget for 2015/2016, at this time has eliminated rebates and grants. ISEA’s position is that we will continue to advocate for the continuation of this program. There is also a legislative bill that has proposed an extension to this program through 2020 which we support and will continue to track.

Q: Can you provide an REC typical value for an average sized home with this proposed declining block program? I have a hard time explaining the value of RECs. Since Illinois has not had a REC price in the past, it’s difficult to estimate what the initial market value may be. The supplemental procurement will go a long way in establishing Illinois REC market prices. In the meantime, the Illinois Power Agency (IPA) will continue to research other markets to make the best decisions for the Illinois market. The goal, of course, is to install solar, and the purpose of the REC is to incentivize solar purchases and ensure pricing makes economic sense. As a reminder, there’s still a bit of the process left before we see what price RECs will have in Illinois. Once the legislation has been passed, and the REC price is published, we’ll update as needed.

Q: What recs are available for people who installed solar systems in 2014? If the system was energized prior to January 21, 2015, you qualify for the regular procurement event in September 2015.

Q: Does Exelon nuclear energy qualify as renewable energy with the 35% by 2030? It does not. Renewable energy is defined within the statute and includes wind, solar, and biofuels. More information can be found at

It is important to note that the Clean Jobs Bill, not to be confused with other energy bills, is the only bill that focuses on renewable energy while producing 32000 jobs per year.

Q: Will clean energy that has already been produced from existing systems be considered for auction? No. The RECs will only be from the contract date of the accepted bid moving forward.

Q: If I plan to install more solar panels in 2015, are IL rebates still available, or is it dependent on Governor Rauner's budget proposal? The program for the 2014/2015 fiscal year is closed. So any future rebate availability will depend on the budget proposal. However, consider the procurement events of 2015/2016 as potential funding sources.  This scenario strongly highlights why we need to pass the Clean Jobs Bill (HB2607/SB1485) as it will provide a way to raise the status of renewable energy to equal that of all other forms of energy. Thus, any perceived dependence on rebates and grants will be removed.

Q: Evidently the 2014/20­15 rebates were frozen. Is that still the case? At this time, rebate decision letters have gone out, clarifying which will be paid and informing the owners that no further extensions will be granted.

Q: When will the specific process of solar customers contracting to be paid for future SRECs in place of the Illinois DCEO Rebate program be rolled out?­ The first supplemental procurement will be June 18, 2015. Aggregators are already available. We have a list of preferred companies here

Q: Once the REC schedule is defined, can you post some investment payback time scenarios on the ISEA blog, including the declining block ­ to let people know what is a realistic investment outlook?

We will try, however, we don’t anticipate seeing any information on this until early to mid 2016.

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