Jo-Carroll Energy gets shot at solar incentives


Jo-Carroll Energy gets shot at solar incentives
BY JOHN KRUSE john.kruse@thmedia.com 5 hrs ago (0)
http://www.telegraphherald.com/news/tri-state/article_dad349fb-29f2-594f-af5d-c062aca2e828.html?utm_source=thonline&utm_medium=click_source&utm_campaign=mostrecent
GALENA, Ill. — Jo Daviess County’s future with solar is looking brighter after recent state action on a piece of Illinois legislation.
The Illinois Commerce Commission recently voted to reject a proposal that would make financial incentives from the state’s Future Energy Jobs Act unattainable in areas that are served by rural electric cooperatives.
Commonwealth Edison Company, the largest electric utility in Illinois, previously recommended to the ICC that areas serviced by municipal and cooperative utilities be excluded from several funding opportunities from the Future Energy Jobs Act.
The legislation, passed in 2016, aims to promote the development of clean energy throughout the state. Part of that effort is the Illinois Solar for All program, which is designed to provide financial incentives for the development of solar arrays in low-income areas.
The recommendation from Commonwealth Edison would have meant that solar projects in Jo Daviess County, which is serviced by Jo Carroll Energy, would not be eligible for the program’s funding opportunities, including the option for the state to purchase renewable energy certificates from rooftop and community solar arrays.
Solar renewable energy certificates allow for the state to make payments to solar array owners for every megawatt hour of energy produced.
Mike Casper, president and CEO of Jo Carroll Energy, said the legislation’s subsidies are an essential piece needed for the cooperative’s plans to invest in community solar projects.
“It helps bring the costs down significantly,” Casper said. “It makes a lot of these projects much more viable.”
He noted that several solar projects are being investigated for other communities as well but declined to offer details on them.
Without the financial benefits of the Future Energy Jobs Act, Casper said that some of the cooperative’s potential solar projects would be put in jeopardy.
“It would definitely hold several of them back, with the chance of some of them just not happening,” Casper said. “The program just makes all of it more doable for everyone.”
Barry Shear, president and owner of Eagle Point Solar in Dubuque, said the Future Energy Jobs Act opens up more opportunities for the development of solar projects in Jo Daviess County and the entire state.
“The value of this law is significant to the economics of solar in Illinois,” Shear said. “It’s a major event for solar.”
Shear has pursued developing solar projects with Jo Carroll Energy for the past six years, and, with the added subsidies, he believes solar development in the county will be much more likely.
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Jo-Carroll Energy gets shot at solar incentives

GALENA, Ill. — Jo Daviess County’s future with solar is looking brighter after recent state action on a piece of Illinois legislation.


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