Pro-solar legislation and the establishment of financial incentive programs have helped Illinois become one of the most financially favorable states in the nation for commercial solar investment. The state’s “Path to 100” plan aims to achieve carbon-free status by 2050.
Companies going solar in Illinois may be eligible for the following local financial incentives in addition to incentives afforded at the federal level, such as the Investment Tax Credit and the accelerated equipment depreciation model.
Illinois' Adjustable Block Program (Solar Renewable Energy Certificates)
Illinois offers a Solar Renewable Energy Certificate (SREC) program. SRECs represents the positive environmental impact attributed to a solar generation project. As solar PV systems produce renewable energy, the system owner earns RECs. These RECs substantiate sustainability marketing claims, and can either be kept by the system owner or sold using a market-based system to other entities (companies, local governments, and utilities) wishing to purchase additional RECS to enhance their own sustainability impact.
As a means to expand the use of solar power across the state, the Illinois Power Agency and the Illinois Commerce Commission established the Illinois Adjustable Block Program, which allows PV system owners to sell some or all of their SRECs, thus measurably enhancing the system’s return on investment. State legislation passed in September 2021 paved the way for new distributed generation (solar) projects to be developed, providing hundreds of millions of dollars in guaranteed project subsidies.
Utility-Provided Solar Rebates
Commonwealth Edison (ComEd) and Ameren Illinois utility customers installing solar for a business are eligible for a $250 rebate for each kilowatt (kWdc) of solar capacity installed when smart inverters are utilized. Therefore, a business installing a sizable rooftop system of 1 MWDC (1,000 kWdc) would receive a $250,000 rebate upon project completion. This rebate opportunity applies to any commercial system with less than 2MWAC of installed capacity.
Favorable Net Metering Policies
Most Illinois utilities offer favorable net metering terms to commercial customers. This simply means that whenever your solar system generates more power than is immediately needed by your business, your utility will compensate you for contributing that excess energy back to the grid. Under Illinois net metering rules, investor-owned utilities are required to reimburse customers for excess generation based on the size of the system and other rate parameters. Net metering is a fantastic tool that helps offset disparities between production and consumption and can further maximize your return on investment.
PACE Financing (Available in Select Areas)
Illinois has laid the groundwork to roll out Property-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing. This model, which is now available in some Illinois counties and municipalities, allows businesses, non-profit organizations, and owners of multi-family complexes to affordably finance up to 100% of the necessary capital needed to pay for energy-related improvements and renewable energy systems. Local governments issue PACE bonds to either directly finance the energy project or to lend bond proceeds to a third-party lender, who then finances the loan. This model effectively allows businesses to tie the project debt to their property instead of their business, and is paid back over the useful life of the system via a special property tax assessment.
How Can Businesses Take Advantage of Illinois' Commercial Solar Incentives?
If your business is interested in exploring the electrical cost savings and sustainability benefits of solar, finding and applying for solar incentives should not be an arduous task. A reputable commercial solar provider will be able to advise your business about available grant and incentive opportunities. At SunPeak, local incentives are researched and considered as the project is developed and designed. SunPeak also handles all paperwork and incentive applications on behalf of its customers.
SunPeak works extensively in Illinois and across the United States. For more information about project feasibility or solar incentives in your area, please contact SunPeak’s project development team.
Click the photos below to learn more about some of our Illinois solar customers:
Thelen Sand & Gravel
Ashley Furniture Industries