Illinois Governor Signs Solar Energy Legislation
On August 17, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D) signed into law a pair of bills promoting solar energy use by both individuals and industry, SolarIndustryMag.com reported. The new laws strengthen utilities' renewable energy requirements and protect the rights of homeowners interested in going solar.
House Bill 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.
House Bill 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, homeowner's associations cannot prohibit homeowners from installing solar panels on their property.
"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," Gov. Quinn said in a statement.