ISEA Policy Blog

Welcome to the ISEA Policy Blog. Catch up on the latest issues related to the adoption of solar and small wind energy in Illinois. We welcome your feedback and referral of newsworthy developments. 

<< First  < Prev   1   2   3   4   5   ...   Next >  Last >> 
  • 02 Jun 2017 12:03 PM | Anonymous

    Trump's long-threatened promise to exit the Paris agreement should not come as a surprise as it was a frequent subject of his rallies.

    The good news is that the US and global solar industry are demonstrating that solar is a robust and rapidly growing industry with strong interest and support, not just from home owners, but both small and large businesses, all of whom recognize the vast and varied benefits of supporting clean energy development. Solar employment expanded last year 17 times faster than the total US economy and now employees 260,000 people (up 24% from 2015) and exceeds employment in coal. And for those who are fans, jobs in the wind industry grew by 28% in 2016. Clean energy has overtaken fossil fuels as the cost effective energy solution!

    According the Solar Energy Industry Association, over 14.8 GW of PV solar was installed in 2016. The over 42 GW of total solar capacity now installed is enough electricity to power 8.3 million homes! Recent studies show that solar ownership is split fairly equally between political parties, indicating that the technology speaks for itself and does not favor any single political ideology. Factor in the reality that pricing has dropped by 67% since 2011, solar just makes good business sense and will prevail on economics alone.

    Where the Federal Government's decision fails to protect our planet, we are heartened to see others stepping in and joining the clean energy crusade. Businesses such as Tesla and ExxonMobil's shareholders have committed to the ongoing advancement of the clean energy economy. States such as New York, Washington, and California have pledged to uphold the Paris Agreement standards, and others, like our home state of Illinois, are spurring clean energy growth through the passage of ground breaking clean energy
    legislation. Cities across our nation are increasing their commitments to renewable energy.

    We at ISEA rededicate ourselves to ensuring a clean energy future for all.

  • 02 May 2017 4:12 PM | Anonymous

    Employment in the solar industry is on the rise!

    The Solar Foundation recently released their annual National Solar Jobs Census for 2016, and found a 25% increase in people employed in the solar industry over 2015. Here are some facts and figures:

    • ·        Compared to 208,859 people working in the solar industry in 2015, there were 260,077 in 2016
    • ·        Expect that there will be at least another 10% increase in 2017
    • ·        Employment in the solar industry has nearly tripled since 2010
    • ·        2% of all new jobs in the US in 2016 were created by the solar industry
    • ·        Solar has added $84 billion to the US GDP in 2016


    Illinois saw growth in 2016 as well, with a lot more expected in 2017 following the passage of the Future Energy Jobs Act.

    • ·        Compared to 3,483 people in the solar industry in 2015, there were 3,718 in 2016, a 7% increase
    • ·        Expect that there will be at least another 5% increase in 2017
    • ·        Illinois is ranked 17th in number of solar jobs nationwide
    • ·        6% increase in the solar industry’s share of the statewide workforce since 2015
    • ·        233 solar companies based in Illinois – 10th most in the country
    • ·        251% increase in solar project development, though slight decrease in installation, manufacturing, and distribution
    • ·        There’s enough solar in Illinois to completely power 10,192 homes!
    • ·        Most solar in 2016 was focused in Cook County, though there was significant work done in DuPage, Lake, Will, and Sangamon

    The renewable energy ball has really started rolling. If the solar industry continues on its established trend, we can expect to see a lot more growth in even the next few years. In particular, all eyes will be on Illinois in 2017 and 2018 as it implements the Future Energy Jobs Act. When this boosts solar jobs as expected, will other states follow suit?


    Sources:

    http://www.thesolarfoundation.org/national/

    https://solarstates.org/#states/solar-jobs/2016

    http://www.thesolarfoundation.org/solar-jobs-census/factsheet-2016-il/


  • 12 Feb 2017 1:37 AM | Anonymous

    The Illinois solar industry is well-positioned to grow significantly in 2017.


    The Illinois Power Agency will conduct 2017 Spring and Fall Solar DG SREC Procurement totaling nearly $40M - more than the three previous Supplemental SREC Procurements combined.


    During this webinar, ISEA will summarize the upcoming procurement process and timeline, past SREC Procurement results, and will also provide attendees with background information that may benefit business marketing and messaging campaigns that encourage customers to go solar in 2017 as opposed to waiting for the new RPS implementation in 2018. There are distinct advantages to going solar sooner rather than later - is your business ready?


    View the slides here. Watch the webinar here.


    Edit, 2/13/17: 


    New information has become available:


    The Spring 2017 Utility Distributed Generation RFP (“DG RFP”) is for the procurement of Renewable Energy Credits from distributed generation (“DG”) resources using the already collected funds from Alternative Compliance Payments.

    The schedule for the DG RFP is posted to the Calendar page of the procurement website. Part 1 Proposals are due on April 5, 2017 and Bids are due on April 28, 2017.


    Draft supplier contracts are expected to be posted by February 28, 2017. An announcement will be sent to all registrants when these documents are posted.



  • 13 Dec 2016 7:07 PM | Anonymous

    Illinois has a new Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) and with it will come greater stability and predictability for the clean energy sector including solar installers, developers and system owners. Having originally started as part of the Illinois Clean Jobs Bill until early 2016, when state legislative leaders requested all energy focused bills in Illinois merge into a single piece of legislation. The end result is the Future Energy Jobs Bill, a comprehensive energy package, encompassing many technologies including solar, wind and energy efficiency. The bill also establishes a new Zero Energy Credit (ZEC) market designed to compensate the Clinton and Quad Cities failing Exelon nuclear plants for their low carbon emissions in exchange for commitments to keep them open for 10 years.   


    This bill will ensure development of every type of solar - residential, commercial & utility scale - within all public utility service areas, while also ensuring that all ratepayers have fair and easy access to the solar technology either through direct purchase, community solar subscriptions or low income solar programs.  


    As the name implies, the focus is on creating clean jobs - building an industry that will provide clean energy solutions that result in good paying, long term jobs across Illinois.


    Click here to read a full statement on the bill. You can also look at the slides from the 12/13/16 Policy Webinar on the Future Jobs Bill here. You can watch the webinar here.

  • 04 Nov 2016 11:59 AM | Anonymous
    ISEA hosted a policy webinar Thursday November 3rd, 2016.

    The subject was "Illinois Energy Bill Negotiations Update" and covered an update on the new RPS that has been negotiated as well as concerns about the proposed rate design and demand charge


    Watch the policy webinar here: Illinois Energy Bill Negotiations Update. View the presentation slides here


  • 26 Aug 2016 12:10 PM | Anonymous
    ISEA hosted a policy webinar Thursday August 25th, 2016.

    The subject was "Utility Rate Design- Understanding the Changing Impact on Solar" and featured guest expert Kelly Crandall of EQ Research. Watch below to learn more about how rate design impacts solar's affordability.



    ISEA monthly policy webinars are intended to provide the Illinois solar industry with up to date information on current policy activities, as well as educate ISEA business members on opportunities that have the potential increase your business.


    The ISEA policy committee, comprised of Illinois industry leaders, as well as guest experts, share their knowledge and experience with attendees.



    **Recordings of previous ISEA policy webinars are made available to ISEA business members. In order to view webinars, log into your ISEA account and then click here.
  • 25 May 2016 12:19 PM | Anonymous

    The Illinois Solar Energy Association (ISEA), the state’s leading voice for solar energy businesses and customers for more than 40 years, contends that while fixing the state’s broken renewable portfolio standard (RPS) is crucial to ensuring Illinois does not lose much needed new solar jobs and investments to other Midwestern states, other pieces of ComEd/Exelon’s recently introduced energy bill would significantly hamper solar growth in the state.


    Lesley McCain, ISEA’s Executive Director maintains that the confusing, complicated demand charges, that ComEd and Exelon propose in the “Next Generation Power Plan”, will harm rooftop solar’s growth. These nationally unprecedented charges mean that consumers will not only be charged for the amount of energy they use, but they will also incur an additional charge based on their highest period of usage in the month. 


    To avoid paying high demand charges Illinois consumers will need to closely monitor their electric use each and every month and limit using numerous appliances simultaneously. Solar owners and energy efficient customers are likely to see their electric bills unfairly increase as demand charges penalize customers who use little energy based on infrequent usage spikes.


    In addition, ComEd and Exelon are also proposing to greatly reduce net metering the current stable method that reimburses solar owners for the excess power they generate.


    Currently solar owners receive credit on their power bills for the surplus energy they produce at the same rate that they are charged for it.  This excess electricity is then delivered to other customers on the electric grid who pay that same retail rate.  This net metering structure helps customers recoup the cost of installing solar systems. The proposed legislation will reduce the amount that solar homeowners are reimbursed for the electricity that they produce from the retail rate to the lower wholesale rate. This proposed change will extend the solar payback period and reduce the return on investment.


    McCain states that “In order to benefit from the burgeoning clean energy economy, Illinois needs a package of clean energy policies that work together.  We cannot have one policy that encourages growth and others meant to suppress it.  These mixed signals will keep Illinois from enjoying the economic benefits that other states economies are already benefitting from”.


    For a brief audio policy update on the benefits of net metering to the grid, click here.

  • 11 May 2016 11:05 AM | Anonymous

    ISEA's 2016 Solar Lobby Day was a success!


    ISEA hosted a joint Clean Energy Reception at Maldaner’s Restaurant  the evening before Solar Lobby Day with the Union of Concerned Scientists and the Respiratory Health Association. Over 60 clean energy advocates, business owners, legislators and their staff all enjoyed the opportunity to network and tour the impressive solar installation on Maldaner’s roof!


    Above: Donovan Griffith- Illinois EPA, Michelle Knox- WindSolarUSA, Rep. Tom Morrison, and Lesley McCain- ISEA Executive Director enjoying the rooftop installation at Maldaner's Restaurant in Springfield.




    Thank you to the 44 Clean Energy Advocates that attended ISEA’s 4th Annual Solar Lobby Day!


    Paul and Cindy from Magitek Energy Solutions, Inc. meet with Rep. Tryon



    ISEA Executive Director Lesley McCain (above) and Lisa Albrecht (below) speak at a Solar Lobby Day press briefing.




    This group of enthusiastic business owners and solar supporters met with a total of 36 legislators and educated them on the economic benefits that the Illinois Clean Jobs Bill will bring to the state!



  • 21 Apr 2016 5:44 PM | Anonymous

    How to Choose a Qualified Solar Installer


    by Mike Nicolosi, Rethink Electric


    As more Americans are switching to sun powered energy for their home, the solar energy installation industry is growing to keep pace.  How are you supposed to differentiate the quality installer from the deceptive contractor?

     

    Although there is no sign of rampant abuse in the industry, a few bad apples can spoil bushel! The BBB only receives a few hundred complaints about solar in the US each year.  Which is a very small percentage of installers.  In every industry there will be contractors that do shoddy craftsmanship to get the work done faster and cheaper for a fatter bottom line. The most important tool homeowners can utilize to protect themselves is education.  As with any home improvement, the more you know about what is being done, the more you can watch for warning signs.  Below is some initial information to help get you started.


    Qualifications:


    Each state has its own requirements for solar installers. 


    In Illinois there is only one requirement to install solar. A solar installation company either needs to have a Distributed Generation Certification through the Illinois Commerce Commission or be working with a subcontractor who has this certification


    In addition a certified electrician is required to pull permits for the work. This can also be the installer or a subcontractor.


    Some additional credentials that may reinforce the quality of the installer are;

    • ISEA Member - Member companies are committed to education and policy in Illinois and also offer homeowners a complaint resolution process.
    • NABCEP certification - This is the gold standard for solar installers.  NABCEP Certified installers have the experience and knowledge to design and build any system. 

    Considerations:


    You are probably not a good candidate for solar on your home or business if your roof:

    •   is shaded by trees or surrounding structures
    • is in need of replacement in the next 5-10 years
    • is not owned by you (apartment buildings, condos)

    Before picking an installer

    Once you've chosen an installer


    If your installer is not an electrical contractor or doing 100% of the work, then they will be subcontracting some of the work.  You should find out who this is, what their craftsmanship warranties are, and possibly ask for referrals. If any of the work is subcontracted you should make sure to get a lien release before the final payment so that they can't hold payment against your house or building. 


    Items that should be in your contract:

    • who is responsible for permits and fees (e.g. structural engineering stamp) and how much they are (each town has its own requirements)
    • craftsmanship warranty (5 year labor warranty is standard in the solar industry)
    • know the warranties on the equipment
    • who is filing out the paperwork to sell your SREC’s
    • who is handling quarterly SREC statements
    • what are the fees involved for selling your SRECs
    • fair payment schedule for both parties. We advise not to pay the contractor all of the money up front.

    A more detailed checklist can be found on ISEA's site 


    More Resources:


    Citizens Utility Board - nonprofit organization created by the Illinois state legislature to work for lower rates and better service from utility providers.


    SEIA's Consumer Guide - SEIA is the parent organization to the ISEA.  This insightful download will empower you with the education to make smart decisions from financing to contracting terminology.

  • 15 Apr 2016 12:00 PM | Anonymous

    On Thursday, April 14th ISEA hosted a Lobbying and Advocacy Training Webinar. This webinar was presented in conjunction with the Illinois Environmental Council and A Renewable America, and discussed real-world skills to help navigate the Capitol complex, refine and improve your message.


    View the recording to learn how to speak to your legislators on issues that matter to you!


    Prepare to join ISEA in Springfield May 4th for ISEA's Solar Lobby Day!

<< First  < Prev   1   2   3   4   5   ...   Next >  Last >> 

Copyright © 2009 - 2014  Illinois Solar Energy Association

Home   About Us   Events Calendar   Join ISEA   News   ISEA Blog   Employment

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software