Guide to Illinois Community Solar Program
Community solar is breaking down barriers.
In Illinois, things like cost, space and sunlight may have stopped you from installing solar in the past. But because of recent state incentives for community solar, none of those are required. Finally, you and your neighbors can use clean energy!
Local communities in Illinois want renewable energy, but there are often road blocks stopping them from accessing it. For example, available square feet, upfront cash and location often stop someone from moving forward. With community solar in Illinois, you do not need to worry about any of that! Regardless if you own or rent, you can subscribe and benefit from solar energy.
What is Community Solar in Illinois?
In Illinois, community solar is a way for neighborhoods to support solar energy with no need to install the array on their property. In exchange for signing up, customers receive a credit on their electric bill. Community solar lowers electric costs over time, boosts economic growth and supports clean power.
Community solar farms are developed and installed in areas with a lot of land. As a result, developers maximize the amount of power an array can produce. In order for you to be a part of a community solar farm, it must be in your service area. Typically, solar farms are right down the street, nearby your home or office.
The utility reduces the use of fossil fuels by using renewable energy through these programs. Because of this, community solar improves the the electric grid. Utilities can now balance their generation with the use of clean energy. The utility does infact encourage you to explore community solar options. Not only are you supporting clean energy but now also the utility.
It is important to note that in Illinois, to subscribe to a community solar project, you must receive your energy directly from the utility and not a third party supplier.
How does Community Solar work?
Solar energy is less expensive over time than fossil fuels. It can also reduce your carbon footprint. Because of this, the utility sees this as a win win for them and their customers.
In Illinois, subscribers sign up with an available solar project in their service area. Then, when the project goes live, they receive a percentage of the array that is based on their annual kWh’s consumed.
From there, subscribers will receive the full credit on their bill which again is based on their percentage of solar farm. Based on their agreement, developers guarantee that subscribes can keep their agreed to portion of the credit (i.e. 10-20%) but will need to pay the developer the rest of the credit that goes to covering costs with the array. The owner of the array handles all array costs and maintenance on their end.
For instance, say a subscriber’s home used 1,000 kWh’s per month. Their subscribed portion of the solar array generated all 1,000 kWh’s this month. They would receive a credit on your utility bill equal to the supply rate multiplied by 1,000 kWh’s. Based on their agreement, they would receive a bill from the owner for the difference of the agreed upon savings.
It is important to remember, your utility still delivers your energy. You will simply receive two bills. Your utility bill like normal will now have a net metering credit included. Also, you will see a bill from the developer to collect their portion of credits that were applied to your utility bill to cover their overhead.
Subscribers in Illinois to need to enroll in virtual net metering. The developer does this for you so that you can receive the credits for the energy your part of the array produced.
First, a developer builds a solar farm in a central spot.
Then, the solar farm generates electric and sends it to the grid for local residents & businesses to subscribe to.
Next, local homes & businesses subscribe to the program & receive a credit for their portion of the power produced.
Finally, the utility provides the subscribers with solar credits on their electric bill to reduce their overall electric supply costs.
How much can you save with Community Solar?
Typically, savings is 10-20% off your electric bill. Of course this depends on your utility in Illinois. There is no cost to join!
Here are some benefits of Community Solar:
- First, there are NO installation costs.
- Second, it’s very quick to sign up and start saving.
- Additionally, there is NO panel maintenance since you are not in charge of the array.
- No cancellation fees (depending on the customer’s usage profile and on the developer).
- Most importantly, you support renewable energy!
Still have questions? Below are our Frequently Asked Questions on Community Solar:
Am I eligible?
Community solar is subject to your utility and farms available. Once the array is full, the enrollment is done. EnergyPricing.com can help you review your eligibility by calling us at 800-225-3813.
Why will it reduce my power bill?
By subscribing to a solar farm, you support renewable energy. Most importantly, the utility knows the benefit of solar and provides a savings credit to subscribers for reducing toxic gases that can be harmful to air quality. Those credits are savings off your monthly utility bill and guaranteed to be 10-20%.
I signed my agreement, what happens next?
Typically, there is a lag from the signed agreement to the start of it. Meaning, community solar projects fill up quickly. Enrollments usually start towards while the project is being developed. If this is the case, once the project starts producing energy, it will reflect in credits on your utility bill within a few weeks. Your payments to the developer will also start around the same time.
Does this cost anything out of pocket to EnergyPricing.com?
There are no costs with subscribing through EnergyPricing.com
How does EnergyPricing.com make money off Community Solar?
EnergyPricing.com is paid by the developer for each customer enrolled in their solar project. Because of this, there is no additional mark up to you as the subscriber.
What if I do not like the subscription?
Cancelation fees vary based on your usage profile and developers available in your area. We do have developers that offer no cancellation fees. Cancellations can take a few billing cycles with the utility to process.
Why use EnergyPricing.com for Community Solar?
EnergyPricing.com has a network of developers that provide our clients with community solar options.
Contact Us to Learn More about Community Solar in Illinois
At EnergyPricing.com, we are dedicated to getting low energy rates for our clients. We educate companies on their energy options. It’s important to know that no matter the size of your business, we can help you get the best energy options.