Illinois Laws Boost Solar Power Use for Utilities, Individuals

August 30, 2010

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn on August 17 signed legislation that boosts the use of solar power by individuals and by state utilities. One law requires the two state utilities, Commonwealth Edison and Ameren, begin purchasing solar power as part of their renewable energy portfolios starting in 2012, three years earlier than previously required by state statute. Specifically, the utilities will now be required to purchase 0.5% of their power from solar sources by June 1, 2012; 1.5% by June 1, 2013; 3% by June 1, 2014; and 6% by June 1, 2015.

A second measure signed into law creates the Homeowners' Solar Energy Act to ensure individual homeowners have the right to construct solar energy panels on their homes, provided the individual homeowners follow certain guidelines. Under the new law, homeowner's associations cannot prohibit homeowners from installing solar panels on their property. The goal of both laws is to reduce dependence on foreign oil while cutting greenhouse gas emissions. See the governor's press release.