Illinois Governor Signs Solar Energy Bills

Gov. Pat Quinn, D-Ill., has signed legislation designed to further the use of solar power by individuals and by industry. The new laws establish strengthened targets for utilities that will be purchasing more solar energy and help homeowners who want to increase their solar energy usage.

H.B.6202, sponsored by Rep. William Burns, D-Chicago, and Sen. Don Harmon, D-Oak Park, amends both the Illinois Power Agency Act and the Public Utilities Act to change the date by which Commonwealth Edison and Ameren must begin purchasing solar energy as part of the renewable energy portfolio requirement. The new law changes the date to 2012, which is three years earlier than the previous 2015 deadline.

Specifically, the power industry will now be required to purchase 0.5% of its power from solar sources by June 1, 2012; 1.5% by June 1, 2013; 3% by June 1, 2014; and 6% by June 1, 2015, and each year thereafter.

H.B.5429, sponsored by Rep. Sara Feigenholtz, D-Chicago, and Sen. Michael Noland, D-Elgin, creates the Homeowners' Solar Energy Act to ensure the right of individual homeowners to construct solar energy panels on their homes, provided the individual homeowners follow certain guidelines. Under the new law, homeowners' associations cannot prohibit homeowners from installing solar panels on their property.

H.B.6202 takes effect immediately, and H.B.5429 will take effect Jan. 1, 2011.

SOURCE: Office Of Gov. Pat Quinn

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