Illinois has become a hotbed for solar energy in the last couple of years for two main reasons: their net metering policies, and SRECs.
The state of Illinois has a renewable energy policy that legislates the policies for the state’s Investor-Owned Utilities, Ameren, MidAmerican, and ComEd. These utilities have a net metering policy for up to 2 MW (2,000 kW) of solar energy or limited to your annual electric consumption, whichever is smaller. To learn more about net metering, click here. When a net metering customer has excess generation for the month, they are credited for that excess generation at the retail rate of electricity.
The rural electric cooperatives in Illinois are not regulated by the state for their policies on solar energy or net metering. Most cooperatives have a 10-kW limit for their net metering policy, but you can install a bigger system still, the rate just won’t be as favorable.
The biggest reason why solar is booming in Illinois is because of SRECs (solar renewable energy credits). To learn more about SRECs, click here. With the federal Investment Tax Credit, SRECs, and the state’s net metering policy, home and business owners who install solar can see a payback period of 3-5 years. For a system that lasts 30 years, that’s 25 years of free energy for your home or business.