Solar policies are crucial for the introduction of solar panel laws in a state. Illinois already had strict solar policies that allowed the statement government to bring changes in the solar panel laws. The state adapted to changing solar laws efficiently. It now has the most number of solar capacity systems among its competitors, Wisconsin and Minnesota. This three-state region has numerous similarities when it comes to state laws and practices regarding the planning, zoning, and permitting of solar energy development.
Illinois has a comprehensive plan guide that acts as a tool for everyone who wants to install solar panel systems in their homes or buildings. It outlines all the considerations and factors that institutions and individuals need to take before installing these panels. The guide also specifies the solar energy objectives of the state. This helps residents to understand why the state government introduced law changes in regards to solar energy.
The state government has the authority to regulate the solar panel zones in Illinois. Different areas have different solar panel laws because of the height and location of the buildings. Although the state government allows everyone to install solar panels in their homes and buildings, it also has the right to check the authenticity of the installation. This helps to make sure that everyone follows the installation guidelines correctly. The laws are tailor-made to suit everyone. However, there are a few restricted areas where building-owners need special permission before installing solar panels in Illinois.
Every individual and institution will require the state’s approval for installing solar panels in their properties. You cannot buy a set of solar panels and install them on your home’s roof without permission. Every contractor, municipality, individual, and institution must notify the state government before installing solar panels. The approval doesn’t take long. You may have to make a few changes regarding the height of the cells or the number of cells you use in a property.
Solar Policies in Illinois
As mentioned already, Illinois has the maximum number of installed solar capacity systems in the three-state region. According to the recent trend, Illinois has already convinced most of the residents to shift to solar energy systems. This has increased the demand for different types of solar panels in the state. Experts believe the demand will still rise in the future because of the widespread popularity of solar energy. Plus, with the recent amendments in the solar policies, both solar panel manufacturers and residents of Illinois feel that they would benefit from the law changes.
There are many policies introduced by the state government of Illinois that agree to the expansion of using solar energy in the future.
- Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard: According to the Public Acts 095-1027 & 096-0159 of Illinois, it is mandatory to meet at least 25% of the state’s energy needs through renewable energy sources. This includes using solar energy systems and low-energy appliances. The state needs to meet this goal within 2025. Out of 25%, 6% of the energy should come from solar energy. That makes it 1.5% of 25%. The solar policy also comes with a Future Energy Jobs Bill that indicates significant amendments to the policies if Illinois can achieve its 25%goal within 2025.
- Homeowners’ Solar Rights Act: No homeowners’ association or any other entity can prohibit or prevent homeowners from installing or using solar energy systems. Illinois encourages individuals and institutions to adapt to the policy changes so that they can install solar panels in their properties. The homeowners association cannot prevent families from installing these panels. Families can directly report to the state government if they face any challenges while installing or after installing these systems.
- Special Assessment for Solar Energy Systems: The statement government is trying its best to implement the solar panel laws as quickly as possible. They have gone to the extent of providing a special assessment of the solar energy systems in properties for tax purposes. This will help building and homeowners to get some relaxation during their tax-filing period.
The Future Energy Jobs Bill came into action back in 2016. It brought about several changes in the energy consumption reforms. The bill established many solar energy goals, various budgets for implementing solar development, and different methods to achieve the goals.
Financing Solar Development
Bringing enormous reforms in solar energy systems in an entire state requires a significant amount of money. Fortunately, the Illinois state government has various incentives to finance solar development and help to reach its goal by 2025. Some of the financing systems that they introduced are as follows:
- Solar Energy Rebate Program: Illinois has an ongoing rebate program from 2015. However, using solar energy was not so popular back then. But with the recent mandate, more and more people will benefit from the Solar Energy Rebate Program. The Illinois Power Authority will also purchase multiple solar renewable energy credits. This means families and institutions can share extra solar energy and earn money from it.
- PACE: The Public Act 096-0481 allows the state government to give consent to voluntary agreements with various property owners for financing energy-efficient systems and solar energy panels.
The recent solar panel laws aim to benefit every resident of Illinois financially. They will be able to save thousands in the future if they can invest a little right now. With the mandate continuing until 2025, Illinois is well ahead of its competitors when it comes to implementing solar panel laws.
Map image by Wikimedia Commons User: TUBS / CC-BY-SA-3.0