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Illinois Renewable Energy Policy

The Illinois Solar Energy Association advocates for the protection and expansion of solar and other renewable energy in Illinois.  ISEA educates and mobilizes our members and the general public on renewable energy policies that affect clean energy development in the State.

Downloadable 2018 Bill Fact Sheets


Bills
2018, 100th Legislative Session

Legislation

Outcome

 Chief Sponsor  Title/Description
SB3214
Passed Sen. Jason Barickman

This bill creates a voluntary standard and set of criteria for pollinator-friendly solar site management through the use of a scorecard drafted by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in consultation with the University of Illinois Department of Entomology. An owner/manager of a ground-mounted solar generation system over 40 kW in size may claim that a site is “pollinator-friendly” or provides benefits to game birds, songbirds, and pollinators only if the site adheres to the guidance set forth by this scorecard and achieves a certain score. A final version of the scorecard will be published within 6 months of the bill being signed into law.

  • Passed unanimously by both the Illinois Senate (54-0) and the Illinois General Assembly (114-0)
  • Creates a voluntary standard for pollinator-friendly solar site management
  • The draft scorecard used to assess compliance allows a site to achieve two different standards:

o Meets Pollinator Standards (score of 70 – 84)

o Provides Exceptional Habitat (score of 85 and higher)

  • A final version of the scorecard will be published within 6 months of the bill being signed into law
  • Provides foraging habitats - Monarchs and honeybee populations are in crisis, and loss of habitat is one of the most significant causes. A single 10-acre solar site is equivalent to more than 5,000 6’x12’ backyard pollinator gardens. More than 300 song and game bird species are threatened due to changes in habitat and seasonal conditions.

  • Provides Improved Storm Water Management and Soil - Compared to gravel or turf-grass, long-rooted native plants filter and channel storm water directly to the aquifer while improving soil organics and helping to prevent area nitrates and phosphorous from reaching waterways.
  • Economic Development - Demand for growing native ground cover on solar sites will provide employment opportunities for local seed growers and landscape service companies.
 SB 486 Amendment 1  Passed  Sen. Don Harmon

This bill provides a standardized formula for both assessed values and the depreciation schedule for ground-mounted commercial solar energy systems. This legislation is modeled after the successful standard assessment formula adopted for wind energy, which the General Assembly enacted in 2007. This legislation provides a predictable process for how solar energy systems will be valued for property tax purposes, will provide millions of dollars in new tax revenue to rural communities and provide solar energy developers and property owners with a standardized statewide formula for determining the value of completed ground mount systems.

  • Results in annual property tax burden of $5,000-$7,000/MW/year depending on local jurisdiction
  • Sets the market value of ground-mount solar at $218,000/MW, including the land valuation and is not subject to any equalization factor applied by local jurisdictions
  • Any remaining land outside of the project lease footprint will continue to be taxed at its current use providing a metes & bounds legal description is provided for the actual developed area
  • The market value of the system increases over time with inflation based on the Consumer Price Index, offset by allowable depreciation over 25 years to a level of no less than 30% of its initial value
  • The actual tax rate applied to the system varies by local jurisdiction and Township Assessors
  • Provides certainty and protection for the landowner and the project owner
  • Provides that the underlying land goes back to the farmland assessment value immediately after the system is decommissioned and removed
SB2591/HB4651
Passed
Sen. Scott Bennett and Chapin Rose; Rep. Charles Meier

This bill requires solar developers to enter into an Agricultural Impact Mitigation Agreement (“AIMA”) with the Illinois Department of Agriculture prior to the commencement of construction of a commercial solar facility on agricultural land. This legislation is an extension of an existing bill that previously pertained to only commercial wind energy facilities. The AIMA requirement is intended to ensure that the construction and decommissioning of a commercial solar energy facility is done in conformance with the practices set forth in the Department's standard agricultural impact mitigation agreement, which are intended to benefit the landowner and other agricultural parcels in the surrounding area.

  • Applies to all ground mounted solar project larger than 500kW located on agricultural land
  • Requires the developer or system owner to execute an AIMA at least 45 days prior to commencement of construction of the solar facility
  • Standard AIMA provisions contemplate: decommissioning plans and security, drain tile repair, indemnification of participating landowners, electrical cabling depth, topsoil removal, weed control, soil compaction amongst other things
  • Provides that AIMA provisions are subordinate to conflicting provisions in other agreements between the developer and landowner

Senate 2018 Spring Session Schedule

House 2018 Spring Session Schedule

Additional Resources

Illinois General Assembly - Read legislation, find bill sponsors and status of bill

Illinois Board of Elections - Learn who your legislators are.

Environmental Law & Policy Center - The Midwest’s  public interest environmental legal advocacy and eco-business innovation organization.

The Vote Solar Initiative - Learn about state policies and initiatives, including lobby days.

Illinois Environmental Council - Stay informed on environmental legislation with IEC's bill tracker and
legislative updates.

Sierra Club Illinois - Follow Sierra Clubs environmental legislative goals and activities

Wind on the Wires (FKA Illinois Wind Energy Association) - Dedicated to expanding wind power in Illinois

Illinois Solar Rights Act
Learn some important legislation in this Act from 2011. The Illinois Solar Rights Act is intended "to protect the public health, safety, and welfare by encouraging the development and use of solar energy systems in order to conserve and protect the value of land, buildings, and resources by preventing the adoption of measures which will have the ultimate effect, however unintended, of preventing the use of solar energy systems on any home that is subject to a homeowners' association, common interest community association, or condominium unit owners' association."


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