Illinois took a big step towards a brighter renewable energy future last week as its governor enacted legislation which will further the use of solar power by individuals and industries alike. The laws signed into the books by Governor Pat Quinn “establish strengthened targets for utilities that will be purchasing more solar energy and help homeowners who want to increase their solar energy usage.”
The first law specifically moves up the date by which state utilities Commonwealth Edison and Ameren must begin purchasing solar energy as part Illinois’ renewable energy portfolio requirement. The new law changes the date to 2012, which is three years earlier than the previous 2015 deadline. It also requires these utilities to purchase .5 percent of its power from solar sources by June 1, 2012; 1.5 percent by June 1, 2013; 3 percent by June 1, 2014; and 6 percent by June 1, 2015, and each year thereafter.
The other new law put into play creates something called the Homeowners’ Solar Energy Act. This, according to the governor’s office, ensures “the right of individual homeowners to construct solar energy panels on their homes, provided the individual homeowners follow certain guidelines. Under the new law, homeowner’s associations cannot prohibit homeowners from installing solar panels on their property.”
“Solar energy is the wave of the future, and it is important that our public utilities and homeowners are able to more easily increase their use of solar energy,” said Governor Quinn in a statement. “We must do everything we can to increase our use of solar energy, which will help us protect natural resources and reduce our reliance on traditional energy sources, such as foreign oil.”