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Community Solar in Illinois: The Future Energy Jobs Act

Team Nexamp | Jan 17, 2020

Over the past five years, Illinois has made significant strides towards increasing access to clean energy through a variety of impressive solar incentives.

In 2016, the Future Energy Jobs Act (FEJA) passed in the Land of the Lincoln, mandating higher renewable energy targets than the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard. The bill called for 100 percent renewables by 2050 and includes provisions to make solar energy more available to low- and moderate-income communities.

To support the development of solar distributed generation for both rooftop and community solar projects in Illinois, FEJA established the Adjustable Block Program (ABP), also known as Illinois Shines, to provide incentive for new solar energy generation. There are two ways to participate in the program:

  • Hosting a solar system on your property, directly offsetting your energy usage; or
  • Participate as a subscriber to a community solar project.

The program consists of four blocks, each of which refers to a set amount of generation capacity and is associated with a pre-determined Renewable Energy Credit (REC) price. For each MWh of electricity produced by a system, solar owners/lessors will be granted one Solar Renewable Energy Credit (SREC), which also can be sold on the market. The amount a solar owner or lessor will earn for their SRECs will depend on a number of factors including solar system size, block capacity, and utility.

Net Metering for Rooftop Solar and Community Solar

FEJA also expands solar energy generation in Illinois through net metering. Net metering allows residential and commercial customers of Ameren and ComEd to offset their energy use with the energy generated from their own solar systems. If the system accumulates more energy in a span of time than it uses, this energy can be sent to the community’s electric grid, which allows the user to gain energy credits.

Community solar subscribers benefit from net metering as well. A subscription to a Nexamp community solar farm allows Illinoisans to receive virtual net metering credits on their bill for the energy produced by their share of the project. These credits help offset the supply charges on a community solar subscriber’s utility bill. At Nexamp, we bill subscribers for the credits at up to a 20% discount.

To learn more, watch Nexamp’s guide to community solar

By stimulating job creation, enhancing Illinois’ position as a respected clean energy leader and preserving the state’s low energy rates for utility customers, the Future Energy Jobs Act is taking important steps towards Illinois’ clean energy future.

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