On May 17th and 18th, SRECTrade attended the Illinois Power Agency’s Renewable Resources Workshops. These workshops centered around the state’s new RPS and its components, including the Adjustable Block Program, Community Solar incentives, and the Illinois Solar For All Programs.
Overview of the New Illinois RPS and the Long-Term Renewable Resources Plan
The new RPS moves to a single compliance regime rather than having separate mechanisms for customers serviced by the alternative retail electricity suppliers (ARES). Under the old RPS, this retail choice lead to budget and target uncertainties. The goal of the new RPS will still be 25% renewables by 2025, but this target will now apply to all retail sales. The Future Energy Jobs Act, Public Act 099-0906, was signed into law on December 6, 2016 and can be read here.
The new law will take effect on June 1, 2017. Please see below for a draft timeline for the implementation of the RPS programs, as provided by the IPA in its Overview presentation:
Under the new RPS, Illinois is moving away from structured procurements for non-utility scale solar. Projects up to and including 2 MW in size will instead be eligible for participation in the new RPS’ Adjustable Block Program, or ABP, which will provide for 15-year REC contracts.
Key components of the ABP are:
- Blocks have set sizes and prices that adjust between blocks, which the IPA may review
- Eligible systems are those energized after June 1, 2017 (emphasis on new projects)
- Transparent, upfront schedule of REC prices
- 15 year REC contracts
- Paid upfront and in full for systems 10 kW and below
- 20% of contract price paid at interconnection/energization and the remaining portion paid over subsequent 4 year period for systems 10 kW-2 MW (DG or community)
- The utility will be the counterparty to the executed contracts
The goal of the ABP is to ensure that solar projects are developed in diverse locations and that they are not overly concentrated. The IPA has yet to determine the number, size, categories, and prices of blocks as well as the application, contracting and delivery process. These issues will be resolved during the implementation process.
Community Solar will operate as a subset of the ABP with similar features and the same goal. Under community solar, an electric generating facility credits the value of electricity generated to the subscribers of the facility. A subscriber has a subscription of no less than 200 watts to a community renewable generation project and may total no more than 40% of the nameplate capacity of an individual project. At a high level, the provision for Community Solar Projects will mirror those for larger DG systems, but may differ in project development and application requirements.
Illinois Solar for All Programs
The goal of the Illinois Solar for All Programs is to bring solar PV to low-income communities in Illinois. The programs are distinct but will share aspects with the Adjustable Block Program for DG and Community Solar. The four programs are as followed:
- Low-Income Distributed Generation Incentive (22.5%)
- Low-Income Community Solar Project Initiative (37.5%)
- Incentives for Non-Profits and Public Facilities (15%)
- Low-Income Community Solar Pilot Projects (25%)
SRECTrade will continue to participate in the implementation proceedings for the new RPS. In addition, SRECTrade will server as an aggregator in the Fall 2017 DG Procurement. You can see the results from the Spring Utility DG Procurement here.