Illinois Solar Incentive Programs Exhaust Funding, Solar Jobs Losses Expected

Passage of the Clean Energy Jobs Act would expand these programs and create new jobs

Chicago, IL — Today, the Illinois Power Agency announced that the popular solar savings incentive known as the Adjustable Block Program (ABP) ran out of funding in the northern part of the state, immediately ending the rebate payment offered to new solar customers made possible by the Future Energy Jobs Act. The program also recently expired in Ameren Illinois territory, leaving the state without a foundational solar incentive and halting job growth opportunities in the industry.

“Thousands of solar workers are about to lose their jobs,” said John Delurey, Midwest Campaigns Director at Vote Solar. “Solar businesses will either downsize or disappear entirely. The hundreds of aspiring workers who graduated from training programs and bet their future on stable clean energy policy will have nowhere to go for employment. We need emergency relief for these workers and the stable funding that the Clean Energy Jobs Act (CEJA) provides.”

The Adjustable Block Program offers a cash rebate on new solar installations. The program is split into multiple sub-programs corresponding to different system sizes. Funding for larger rooftop solar projects (e.g. farms, schools, churches, small businesses etc.) ran out last spring, creating strain on solar companies that service those customers. The sub-program for residential projects was the only remaining opportunity for solar customers and companies in the state and this latest closure creates an existential threat for Illinois’s solar industry. Through the Future Energy Jobs Act the state developed a price for Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) which paid customers based on the amount of energy the solar system produces over 15 years. The average value for a homeowner was approximately $10,000.

“This will not just affect the Adjustable Block Program,” said Juliana Pino, Policy Director at the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization. “We expect ripple effects in the Illinois Solar for All program and the workforce development programs, where critical career opportunities for low-income residents and environmental justice communities could dry up entirely. This funding cliff puts our journey towards a clean, just, and equitable energy future at risk.”

The Clean Energy Jobs Act (CEJA) will restore stability and expand the Adjustable Block Program and other clean energy incentive programs in Illinois. It provides a funding trajectory to 100% renewable energy, without raising rates, and ensures a permanent end to the boom and bust cycles that wreak havoc on clean energy business development.

The lack of these funds will dramatically slow down the rate of new customers interested in solar and could lead to a collapse of individual businesses and sweeping layoffs of Illinois solar workers.