What is Illinois Shines?

Illinois Shines is the brand name of the Adjustable Block Program, a state-administered program for new solar photovoltaic (“PV”) systems. The program provides payment in exchanges for 15 years for renewable energy credits (“RECs”) generated by new PV systems. These payments, made by Illinois utilities, vary depending on the system’s size and where it is located. Participating in Illinois Shines is the same thing as participating in the Adjustable Block Program.

RECs represent the environmental value of the electricity generated from solar panels, but not the electricity itself.

A home PV system might generate 50-200 RECs over 15 years. By participating in Illinois Shines, you will transfer the RECs from your PV  system to an Illinois electric utility. Selling your RECs will not affec your PV system’s production.

Although you can keep your RECs or sell them to someone besides utilities, participating in Illinois Shines nd thus allowing your REC to be sold to a utility is lkely to be your best financial option. Selling your RECs through this program will make it more likely that your PV system will save you money.

The most common options are:

  1. Buying the system
  2. Leasing the system
  3. Signing a Power Purchase agreement (“PPA”). If you lease or sign a PPA, you don’t ow the system, but you get many of the benefits.
You are not guaranteed to save money unless your contract includes an explicit guarantee. The questions below will affect whether you save money. You can answer some questions yourself, while others can be answered by your installer or sales agent.
  1. What per kilowatt-hour rate are you currently paying for electricity? The higher the electricity rate before you go solar, the more money you can potentially save.
  2. Is your roof good for solar? The direction your roof faces and how much electricity roof-mounted PV will generate. The roof’s condition should also be considered.
  3. How much electricity will the system generate? If your system produces more electricity than you use over an annual period, you may not receive credit for all the electricity generated.
  4. How much money will you receive for RECs? The approved Vendor will e paid by a utility for you system’s RECs and may use some of that money to reduce your cost of going solar.
  5. Can you use the federal investment Tax Credit? If you buy your system, you may qualify for a substantial federal income tax credit. Consult your tax adviser.
  6.  How long do you expect to stay in your home or business location? If you lease or sign a PPA, you may e required to buy out the contract to find out what happens if you move.
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