ISEA Blog

Welcome to the ISEA Blog. Catch up on the latest issues related to the adoption of solar and small wind energy in Illinois. We welcome your feedback and referral of newsworthy developments. 

  • 23 Aug 2013 2:20 PM | Anonymous

    ISEA is working hard to ensure that our members' interests are protected and promoted.  One of the many ways we are doing this is through the development of this new user-friendly website.

     

    Check out the business members' logos at the bottom of the home page.  Corporate and premier members' logos link directly the business website. Charter members' logos are linked to the member's profile. The business member search page has been cleaned up and all business members' logos have been added.

     

    We encourage all ISEA business members to update their profile pages.  As the industry continues to grow, so too does both ISEA membership  and visits to the website. We want to ensure that those who are considering doing business with you are encouraged to do so through a professional and informative profile.

     

    Stay tuned for updates on ISEA advocacy work, public presentations, professional education, new programs, events and workshops.

     

     ISEA is working for you!

     

  • 14 Dec 2012 12:16 PM | Anonymous

                  POLICY ACTION ALERT

    Public written comments on the DG Certification ruling (Docket 12-0213) are due on Monday December 17th 2012. 

    Please provide your written comments directly to the Illinois Commerce Commission.  It is imperative that you detail how this ruling will impact your business.

     In our interpretation, there are 3 basic issues with the statute: the definition of “install”, the definition of “qualified person” and the certifications that will be recognized and the fee structure.

    Please note, the process on how to provide comments is outlined below.

     1.      “Install” means to complete the on-premise electrical wiring and connections necessary to  interconnect 

              distributed generation facility with the electric utility’s distribution system            .

               However the subsequent language of what it does not include creates confusion and ambuguity.

               The  meaning of  “install” in this part specifically does not include:

    •·      Electrical wiring and connections to interconnect the distributed generation facility performed by utility workers on the electric utility's distribution system;

    •·      Electrical wiring and connections internal to the distribution facility performed by the manufacturer; or

    •·      Tasks not associated with the electrical interconnection of the distributed generation facility, including those relating to planning and project management performed by individuals such as an inspector, management planner, consultant, project designer, contractor or supervisor for the project.
     

    2.      The current DG Installer Certification requirements specify that only “Qualified Persons” may connect a

             solar PV array to the grid.  A “Qualified Person” is currently narrowly defined as:

     

    • An apprentice or journeyman electrician who has completed a United States Department of Labor Registered Electrical Apprenticeship and Training Program and received a certification of satisfactory completion; OR
    • Or a person who has satisfactorily completed at least twenty installations of DG technologies

     

    3.      Currently, the Application fee for certification is $3,000 with an annual re-certification report of $500.  

             Penalty for noncompliance is $6,000.

     

    The ISEA believes these rules will:

    •·      Impose unnecessary barriers on the growth of Illinois' solar and small wind industry;

    •·      Place burdensome financial requirements on small businesses; and

    •·      Displace highly trained individuals from employment.

     

    . Process:

    ·         Go to  www.icc.illinois.gov

    ·         Select Consumers tab

    ·         Click Comment on a Case

    ·         Select a case from list drop down menu box, enter P 12 0213, SELECT

    ·         In the comment section be sure to include “First Notice Comments”

     

     

    AN ADDITIONAL NOTE REGARDING THESE DRAFT RULES:

    The Illinois DCEO is required to run a small business impact study to determine how the DG certification ruling will affect solar businesses in Illinois.  As such, please also email a copy of your comments to Katy Khayyat at her email address below and copy Lesley.mccain@illinoissolar.org.

     

    Katy Khayyat

    Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity

    Office of Regulatory Flexibility

    500 East Monroe Street, 5th Floor

    Springfield, IL 62701

    Email:  Katy.Khayyat@Illinois.gov

     

     

     

     

  • 06 Dec 2012 2:39 PM | Michelle Hickey
    POLICY ACTION ALERT

    It is imperative that anyone with a vested interest in the development of solar in Illinois participate in this Public Hearing regarding the certification of distributed generation installers.  This is your opportunity to voice your opinion on how these rules will affect your business and the growth of solar in Illinois.

    Monday, December 10th
    9:30 am

    2 Illinois Commerce Commission Locations

    Springfield
    Leland Building
    527 East Capitol Avenue

     Chicago
    160 N. LaSalle St, Suite C-800

    Anyone from the public may attend and comment.

    The current Distributed Generation Installer Certification rules (Docket 12-0213) specify that only “Qualified Persons” may connect a solar PV array to the grid.  A “Qualified Person” is defined as:

    • An apprentice or journeyman electrician who has completed a United States Department of Labor Registered Electrical Apprenticeship and Training Program and received a certification of satisfactory completion.
    • Or a person who has satisfactorily completed at least twenty installations of DG technologies

    The Application fee for certification is $3,000 with an annual recertification report of $500.  Penalty for noncompliance is $6,000.

    The ISEA believes these rules will:

    • Negatively impact solar industry growth
    • Place burdensome financial requirements onto small businesses
    • Displace highly trained individuals from employment

    Please RSVP to ISEA so we know who will be attending either the Springfield or Chicago meeting.

  • 14 Nov 2012 11:46 AM | Michelle Hickey

    People with renewable energy systems or considering installing one and those who live in communities that have or recently voted for Municipal Aggregation of their electricity will be faced with a term that can be confusing - Renewable Energy Certificates/Credits, often referred to as RECs.

    All energy production generates at least two outputs.  Traditional energy, coal and nuclear, generate electricity and pollution/waste.  Renewable energy systems, like solar arrays and wind turbines, generate two outputs as well – electricity and RECs.  The RECs are a mechanism developed by the EPA to encourage development of non polluting energy projects.  For every 1000 k Wh (1 MWh) of renewable energy produced, one REC is generated.

     

    RECs are tradable, marketable commodities that are sold to companies, states, cities, or other entities that have established a Renewable Energy Standard or other commitment to renewable energy.  If you travel, you may have seen an option to “green” your travel by purchasing these credits or you may live in a community that offers a “green” energy option for your electricity usage.

    The sale of RECs provides a revenue stream for solar and wind developers that contribute to the financial viability of a project.  Financing will often include a contract of 5-20 years for the RECs produced by the project.   REC pricing fluctuates due to supply and demand, but in areas where it is an effective mechanism to spur development, pricing is typically in the $100-$400 range.

    A project can sell RECs as long as it is operational, so a wind farm that was built 10 years ago can continue to sell the RECs it generates.  These RECs provide additional revenue to the project developer, but do not support NEW development and are often sold cheaply.   We are already enjoying the environmental benefits of this project and they have already received the revenue to finance, so rather than purchase these “cheap” RECs, consider purchasing RECs from a project that needs the additional revenue in order to be developed.

    Illinois has a Renewable Portfolio Standard to procure 25% of its energy from renewable sources by 2025.  RECs are the mechanism by which the state achieves this percentage.   Unfortunately, Illinois does not have an in-state preference, which means they don’t have to purchase RECs from Illinois based solar and wind projects.  This hurts the Illinois economy by supporting renewable energy development in other states rather than in Illinois and prevents the reduction of environmental and health problems created by our continued reliance on fossil fuel based energy.

    So when purchasing RECs, buy Illinois and support new development!

  • 24 Sep 2012 10:49 AM | Michelle Hickey
    The Illinois DCEO Solar and Wind Energy Rebate Program is OPEN



    Photovoltaic (solar electric) incentives
    • $1.50/watt or 25% for homeowners and businesses
    • $2.60/watt or 40% for nonprofits and public entities

    Wind energy incentives
    • $1.70/watt or 30% of project cost for homeowners and businesses
    • $2.60/watt or 40% for non-profits and public entities

    Solar thermal incentives
    • 30% of project cost for homeowners and businesses
    • 40% of project cost for non-profits and public entities

    Maximum rebate for all solar and wind energy projects is $10,000

    DCEO has allocated a budget of $1.5 million to this program.  This budget is the same as the last few years.  Applications are considered on a first come, first serve basis.

    No grants will be offered during the 2013 Fiscal Year due to the $3.7 million appropriation to Illinois Green Economy Network which reduced DCEO's budget from $5 million to $1.3 million.

    DCEO had to work hard to ensure the Rebate Program stayed alive and had comparable funding to past years by adjusting budgets and eliminating the grants.
  • 11 Aug 2012 8:28 AM | Michelle Hickey
    The IL DCEO has announced that there WILL BE a SOLAR & WIND ENERGY REBATE PROGRAM for 2012.  It will have less money than 2011, but will still fund solar photovoltaics, solar thermal, and wind installations.

    GO SOLAR!

  • 27 Jul 2012 10:15 AM | Michelle Hickey
    Source:  DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy (EERE)

    This update contains solicitations for renewable energy generation, renewable energy certificates, and green power as a courtesy to our subscribers. Unless otherwise noted, these requests for proposals and solicitations are neither supported nor endorsed by the U.S. Department of Energy, Green Power Network.

    Deadline - August 15, 2012

    Western Area Power Administration (Western) RFP seeking up to 592,618 MWh of eligible renewable energy certificates (RECs) on behalf of various U.S. Department of Energy national laboratories and Environmental Protection Agency. Western is requesting firm, fixed, per-MWh unit price offers for each FY for the transfer of RECs on behalf of any or all of the REC Requestors for terms of each FY beginning FY 2012 through FY 2016.
    Contact: Sandee Peebles

    Deadline - August 31, 2012

    Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) RFP seeking a developer to finance, design, construct, install, operate, maintain, repair and replace new ground-mounted photovoltaic (PV) systems on a minimum of thirty acres on airport property at Chicago O'Hare International Airport (ORD). The CDA has identified seven potential sites for solar development on ORD property, totaling fifty-two acres. All questions are due July 27, 2012.
    Contact: ORDSOLARPV@cityofchicago.org

    A complete list of active RFPs can found on our Financial Opportunities page.
  • 11 Jul 2012 4:53 PM | Michelle Hickey
    The solar community was inspired last night at Solar Drinks to galvanize our collective power to establish a sustainable future for solar.  Clean Energy Illinois PAC leaders presented their plan to raise money to fund election efforts for candidates that will not only support clean energy legislation but CREATE growth and longevity.

    Illinois policy has consistently hindered solar development and with this latest hit to the DCEO Solar & Wind Energy Rebate Program by Illinois Green Economy Network (IGEN) combined with the RPS funding issue, the solar community is ready to take action.


    Below are some resources related to last nights Solar Drinks:


    ISEA Policy summary PowerPoint


    Clean Energy Illinois PAC


    TAKE ACTION page to save solar businesses


    WCPT Podcast of Lisa Albrecht, advocate for Clean Energy Illinois, on the Mike Nowak show 7/8/12

  • 11 Jul 2012 9:22 AM | Michelle Hickey
    Special Assessment for IL Solar Energy Systems

    Solar systems should not increase your property taxes according to
    Property Tax Code § 35 ILCS 200/10-5 et seq.  Illinois offers a special assessment for solar energy systems, but you may have to register with a chief county assessment officer or contact your local assessor.  Solar energy equipment is valued at no more than a conventional energy system.

    Eligible equipment includes both active and passive solar-energy systems.

    Check your property tax bill, and if you feel your assessment increased due to your solar installation, contact your local assessor office who is listed on your tax bill.

    Your assessor may request a completed State of Illinois PTAX-330 property tax form.
  • 22 Jun 2012 11:42 AM | Michelle Hickey
    The ISEA is made up of incredible people who support solar in many ways:

       •  through membership which funds ISEA programs
       •  by installing renewable energy on their home or business
       •  by working in the renewable energy industry
       •  by volunteering
       •  and by being a Solar Ambassador!


    Just recently several ISEA members have stepped up as Solar Ambassadors sharing their knowledge and enthusiasm for solar with others to expand awareness and support solar development!


    Peter Gorr was recently recognized by the Illinois Sierra Club for his work educating and influencing municipalities on greening their electric supply! Read about how Peter walks the walk with his own home solar installation. The ISEA will be hosting a Solar Social on August 4th at Peters home. 


    Rich Born, a lifetime ISEA member, educated a group of 20 junior high girls from the Northern Illinois University Enhancing Engineering Pathways (NIU-EEP) program about solar on June 14th.  Rich is a retired educator who loves to teach and share his enthusiasm for solar.  He has a 5 kW photovoltaic system and a Chevy Volt. 


    Susan Tauck and Bill Wawak, who have both participated in the Solar Tour for several years, volunteered to share their renewable energy experiences and installations with 8 teachers who are participating in an Energy and Ag class through the McHenry County Farm Bureau.  Both Tauck and Wawak have PV, solar thermal and wind installations.


    Thank you to these Solar Ambassadors and any others who are sharing their passion for solar with others.  Let's continue to spread the word that Illinois is Ready for Solar!




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