DCEO Announces FY2014 Large Distributed Solar and Wind Grant Program -

11 Sep 2013 5:39 PM | Lesley McCain (Administrator)


DCEO is releasing a Request for Application for the FY 2014 Large-Distributed Solar and Wind Grant Program (was previously called the Community Solar and Wind Grant Program) on Monday, September 16th.


This RFA is a competitive solicitation, with applications due to DCEO on or before 4:30 p.m. on November 7, 2013.  Program guidelines and application forms will be available from the Illinois Energy Office’s website at http://www.illinoisbiz.biz/dceo/Bureaus/Energy_Recycling/Energy/Clean+Energy/01a-Community+Solar.htm on September 16th.


The focus of the Large-Distributed Solar and Wind Energy Grant Program is to support the development and implementation of distributed community and commercial-scale solar thermal, solar photovoltaic, and wind energy technologies in Illinois. 

Proposed solar photovoltaic projects are eligible for grants up to 25 percent of eligible project costs for business entities and 40 percent for local government and non-profit entities.  Solar thermal and wind energy projects are eligible for grants up to 30 percent of eligible project costs for business entities and 40 percent for local government and non-profit entities. The maximum grant award is $250,000.    Eligibility is limited to project costs for the purchase and installation of solar and wind generation equipment, and related metering components as appropriate.  Total funding for the program is a minimum of $1.75 million for Fiscal Year 2014. 


Here are some key changes we are making to the grant program from last year:

  • Incentives for business will be $1.25 per watt (instead of $1.50) or 25% of project cost, whichever is less. Maximum grant will still be $250,000.
    We added language in section 8.2.8 to require any project that is completed after December 31, 2013 must be completed by a certified distributed energy installer (as will be required by Illinois Commerce Commission rules)
    In Section 8.3 we added more program information of details that will be in the grant agreement
    In section 8.4.3 we included language that makes it clear that any applicant that is a current or previous grantee of the Department and was/is delinquent in its compliance with grant provisions shall have such delinquency included as one of the application evaluation criteria for this current application
    In Appendix A (Documentation Requirements outline) we now request that applicants provide a payback analysis.

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 http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/fulltext.asp?DocName=&SessionId=88&GA=99&DocTypeId=HB&DocNum=2607&GAID=13&LegID=88134&SpecSess=&Session=

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 http://www.illinoissolar.org/SRECTrade-FAQ

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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