Following its passage in the Illinois House, the Illinois Senate, as expected, on September 13 passed The Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (SB 2408), a sweeping energy package that sets the state on a trajectory toward 100% clean energy by 2050.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker was expected to sign the legislation into law. The measure is expected to provide a pathway forward for the state’s solar industry, which has been languishing for almost a year following the exhaustion of previous incentives.
The solar industry has applauded the passage of what was perhaps the most-anticipated state legislative package of the year.
“As a result of this landmark legislation, Illinois is now ready to embark on its clean energy future,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). “Opening the Illinois market is critical to the growth of energy sources that will clean the air, create jobs and jumpstart the state’s economy. Illinois is now a national leader in crafting renewable energy solutions.”
Lesley McCain, executive director of the Illinois Solar Energy Association, said that after years of advocacy, the state now has a path to “reverse job losses and deliver clean electricity for families across Illinois.”
And Vote Solar said in a statement that the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act will mean “thousands of good jobs, millions of dollars in local investments, and cleaner and healthier communities.”
Provisions of the bill include:
- An immediate re-start of solar incentives through the Adjustable Block Program, potentially protecting thousands of solar jobs and unlocking billions in solar savings for Illinois families and businesses.
- A 350% increase in the pace of renewable energy development in Illinois, putting the state on target to reach 40% renewable energy by 2030.
- A 500% funding increase for the Illinois Solar for All program, a dedicated subprogram that unlocks higher solar savings for low-income residents, increasing the annual budget to $50 million.
- A $80 million in annual funding for programs that support workers and contractors from disadvantaged communities.
That final line item includes $34 million for a grant program to provide seed capital to emerging disadvantaged businesses; $1 million for the Jobs and Justice Fund, a nonprofit “green bank” that will infuse disadvantaged businesses with capital; $21 million for a 16 clean energy workforce training hubs across the state; $21 million for a system of contractor incubators to provide training and technical support to disadvantaged clean energy contractors; $9 million for contractor accelerators that will support further growth of clean energy businesses to become prime contractors and project developers; and $6 million for a training program for Illinoisans in institutions that are preparing for their return.
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