Gov. Quinn Signs Two Bills to Boost Illinois Solar Use
If you browse through the U.S. Solar Industry’s 2009 year in review, you won’t find Illinois in the top ten in cumulative solar capacity. Governor Pat Quinn is trying to change that.
On Tuesday, he signed two bills into law at the University of Illinois in Chicago that could provide a muchneeded boost to the state’s solar energy industry. While doing so, Gov.Quinn broadly outlined the importance of a strong solar energy industry — for Illinois and the entire nation:
“We must do everything we can to increase our use ofsolar energy, which will help us protect natural resources and reduceour reliance on traditional energy sources, such as foreign oil.”
The first is House Bill 6202, which requires Commonwealth Edison andAmeren — the state’s two largest utility companies — to begin buying and supplying its customers with more solar energy, sooner, in effectmoving up a first milestone to 2012. (The original mandate was for2015.) Now both utilities must get one-half of one percent of theirtotal energy from solar by 2012, 1.5 percent by 2013, three percent by2014 and, finally, six percent by 2015. The new law, dubbed the Solar Ramp-Up Bill, will go a long way toward advancing Illionois’ renewable energyportfolio, which states that 25 percent of all electricity supplied byregulated utilities must come from renewable sources by the year 2025.
The second is House Bill 5429 — the Homeowners’ Solar Energy Act. The bill prevents homeowners’ associations from preventing homeowners toinstall solar energy systems on their property. Associations will now be required to establish reasonable guidelines for the homeowners who wish to go solar.
The two laws will take effect in January 2011 and are expected to create 5,000 brand new solar industry jobs statewide.
In related news, Governor Quinn also announced a $4 million stimulus grant, which will support the Rockford Photovoltaic (PV) Solar Project. The62-megawatt solar installation is to be built at the the newmanufacturing facility of Wanxiang America Corporation in Rockford,Illinois. If all goes according to plan, the installation will be thelargest PV solar energy system in the midwest.
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