Illinois governor signs bill to promote solar energy development

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn on June 28 signed legislation to promote the purchase of solar-produced electricity in Illinois.

The law requires that a special existing fund be used to purchase solar power and emphasizes the development of distributed solar generation.

“These last days of June are some of the longest of the year, the perfect time to talk about getting more of our electricity from solar,” Quinn said. “Thousands of residents will soon get cheaper, cleaner energy, and we will create good paying jobs for working families in the process. It’s this sort of innovation that has made Illinois a national leader in clean energy production.”

House Bill 2427 requires the Illinois Power Agency to use up to $30m to purchase solar power to meet a portion of the state’s electric power needs. The money comes from the agency’s Renewable Energy Resources Fund, which is made up of clean energy fees paid by power suppliers in Illinois.

The law establishes a competitive procurement process to purchase energy from existing solar devices and from new solar installations. Existing and new utility-scale solar projects will benefit from the legislation as well. The law is effective immediately.

“We commend Governor Quinn and the General Assembly for advancing solar energy development in Illinois. House Bill 2724 will jumpstart the solar industry in Illinois, create hundreds of good paying jobs, and help homeowners throughout Illinois gain clean renewable energy for their homes,” Environmental Law & Policy Center President Howard Learner said.

The Illinois Power Agency was established by law in 2007 to develop procurement plans to ensure adequate, reliable, affordable, efficient and environmentally sustainable electric service at the lowest total cost for residential and small commercial customers of Ameren and Commonwealth Edison. The procurement plans include electricity generated from renewable and traditional sources.

Over 330 wind, solar and geothermal companies are located in Illinois. Chicago alone is home to 13 global or U.S. headquarters of major wind power companies, more than any other city in the nation, said the governor’s office. Illinois also ranks first among all states in the nation in purchasing green energy and its energy efficiency programs rank in the top ten in the U.S., the only non-coastal state to do so. Illinois is also fourth among states in wind production, largely due to Renewable Portfolio Standards.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.