Update 02/15/22: The growth was further quantified by new data from members of SEIA, the Illinois Solar Energy Association, the Coalition for Community Solar Access and the Illinois Power Agency. The new research found the solar industry plans to complete more than 8,400 additional solar installations and increase its workforce by nearly 50% in 2022.
Following the recent passage of the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (CEJA) in September of 2021, the DG+Design team has released a new Illinois Solar Market Report detailing expectations for massive growth for the state’s clean energy sector.
Despite a tough year marred by global supply chain issues and uncertainty around the COVID-19 pandemic, the long-term outlook for solar in Illinois has improved dramatically. Multiple factors are increasing the appeal of jumping into the Illinois solar market for investors and developers.
CEJA has allocated $350 million to support the expansion of renewable energy in Illinois through incentive programs for solar development, green job training programs, and others. The new legislation also requires the closure of all coal and gas-fired power plants by 2045, making solar and wind development the clear choice for ensuring long-term returns.
Illinois saw a massive drop in development of residential and community solar in Q3 of 2021, largely owing to a lapse in Adjustable Block Program incentives originally offered through the Future Energy and Jobs Act of 2016. Additionally, from 2019 to 2020, total solar jobs in Illinois declined, largely due to the incentive drop-off.
But the future looks much brighter, as the Adjustable Block Program waitlist is set to reopen on December 14 of this year with new, larger subsidies available to encourage solar development. These changes are expected to bring stability to the solar sector in Illinois, supporting a strong clean energy workforce and spurring progress toward the state’s ambitious new clean energy goals.
“When state incentives for solar ran out in 2019, Illinois saw a dropoff in solar development, causing a loss of momentum toward meeting key clean energy goals. With these new policies, Illinois solar is here to stay,” said Kathleen Gill, director of clean energy at DG+Design.
As Illinois pushes to hit 100% clean energy in the coming years, the state is offering unprecedented incentives for solar development of a scale never seen before. In 2022 alone, Illinois will provide financial incentives for the installation of 250 MW of community solar projects, with the expectation that 5,800 total MW of rooftop and community solar will be developed by 2030.
“Due to decisive action by the Illinois legislature in implementing long-term solar incentives, the solar incentive cliff has been remedied and Illinois is once again a highly attractive market for solar development. We anticipate significant, sustained growth for Illinois’ solar industry,” said David Ganske, CEO of DG+Design.
News item from DG+Design