Renewable Portfolio Standards
RPS (Renewable Portfolio Standards) are very strong in Illinois. The state must get 25% of all its energy from renewable sources. Utilities have to pay high fees if the standards are not met, so there is strong incentive in Illinois for utilities to offer solar incentives to homeowners.
RPS Solar Carve-Out
Solar carve-outs require a certain percentage of a state’s renewable energy to come from solar by a certain deadline. The solar carve-out in Illinois is 1.5% by 2025.
State Electric Rates
Electric rates in Illinois put it at the top 18 highest in the country. High electric rates make an investment in solar energy more rewarding for homeowners.
Strong net metering laws are a bonus for Illinois residents. Net metering is a system in which solar panels or other renewable energy generators are connected to the public utility, allowing customers to offset the cost of the power they draw from the utility with credits they earn on their own production. If your system produces more energy than you need, the excess power is sold to the grid, which you see as a credit on your power bill.
Interconnection standards are requirements for connecting solar and other electrical generation systems to the grid. Illinois’ standards are quite strong, making it easier for utility companies to offer net metering.
State rebates in Illinois are offered through ComEd and Ameren. There’s paperwork to file, of course, and oftentimes the installer will handle that. The rebates work either by giving you cash back, or your installer will take the amount off the final bill.
Performance-Based Incentives (PBI)
Illinois offers PBIs, which are incentives based on the actual power your system generates. The state calls them Power Performance Payments. You get paid based on the number of kilowatt-hours (kWh) or BTUs generated by your renewal-energy system. The electricity produced is credited as Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs), the value of which fluctuates by the rule of supply and demand.
Property Tax Exemption
In Illinois, the value of your home will not be reassessed after the addition of a solar system. You keep paying property tax based on the value before adding the system.
Federal Tax Credit
On top of these Illinois rebates and exemptions, of course you also qualify for the hefty tax credit from the Federal government. The solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) is worth 26 percent of the system cost, and will be deducted from your Federal income tax. The credit goes to those who buy their system (cash or loan), not to those who lease. If you lease a system, incentives go to the third-party owner. A good reason to buy, not lease!