Legislation in Illinois may power solar energy adoption

July 11, 2014 0 By Erin Kilgore

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Solar Energy Adoption

New legislation in Illinois could have a major impact on the growth of solar power in the state

New legislation in Illinois could have a major impact on the growth of solar energy throughout the state. The legislation requires the Illinois Power Agency to purchase as much as $30 million worth of electricity from primarily solar power sources in the state. The agency was initially formed to purchase renewable energy on behalf of the state’s utilities, existing as a way to provide utilities with more abundant access to clean power. This is accomplished through the agency’s Renewable Energy Resources Fund, which has raised some $54 million, with an additional $80 million coming to the fund later this year.

Illinois Power Agency now has more discretion to use the funds at its disposal

Most of the funds available to the agency have been unused due to provisions of state law. According to these provisions, the agency’s funds can only be spent to purchase power from Commonwealth Edison and Ameren Illinois and only when customers expressly wished to make use of clean energy. The new legislation provides the Illinois Power Agency with more discretion as to how its funds are used in the energy field.

Utilities are slow to embrace emissions regulations from the federal government

Solar power is currently competing with wind and nuclear energy in Illinois. Utilities are beginning to feel the pressure to separate themselves from fossil-fuels in order to comply with federal emissions regulations. This has been a slow process, however, and many utilities are likely to continue their use of fossil-fuels well into the future. There has yet to be definitive support for any single form of renewable energy in Illinois, though many utilities are beginning to show favor for solar energy.

EPA regulations could accelerate the adoption of solar energy

Solar energy is likely to gain significant momentum in the years to come. The Environmental Protection Agency has introduced new emissions regulations that call for a significant reduction in the emissions produced throughout the country. Before these regulations were introduced, solar power had already gained significant support, but this support will likely escalate in the near future.