New Report from DG+Design Shows Illinois as One of Most Competitive States for Solar Development

December 13, 2021

As Illinois Launches New Solar Incentives, Clean Energy Experts Expect a Solar Boom

CHICAGO, IL - 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.

Kathleen Gill, Director of Clean Energy at DG+Design, remarked, “When state incentives for solar ran out in 2019, Illinois saw a drop off in solar development, causing a loss of momentum toward meeting key clean energy goals. With these new policies, Illinois solar is here to stay.”

Despite the challenges posed by the recent incentive drop-off, Illinois still saw new solar development in 2021. Noteworthy projects include a 3-megawatt (MW) project in Urbana, the home of Illinois’ flagship public university, and a 1 MW project in Paris Township, about 90 miles west of Indianapolis.

Julia Stevens, a Marketing and Communications Associate at DG+Design and Illinois resident, said “Thanks to these new incentives, the solar landscape in Illinois has never been better. Whether you’re making business decisions or considering solar for your own home, it’s a good time to get educated on the incentives available to you.”

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. This capacity reflects enough energy to power 5.8 million Illinois homes.

David Ganske, CEO of DG+Design and veteran of the clean energy industry remarked, “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.”

For a more detailed analysis of the Illinois solar market, including pricing, regulatory policy, and detailed forecasts, check out the full Q4 2021 Illinois Solar Market Report from DG+Design.

About DG+Design

DG+Design is a marketing and creative agency with a focus on clean energy and sustainable brands. Our work is founded on the passion to uniquely combine clean energy expertise, creative skill, and marketing strategy to provide unrivaled value. From market research and energy marketing to documentary filmmaking, DG+Design is focused on empowering others to grow the clean energy economy. Work includes projects with utilities, electric vehicle companies, solar and wind developers, non-profits, international organizations, and more. For more information on DG+ and available market reports, visit the company's research page.


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