Illinois residents can begin reaping the benefits of solar power offsetting steadily rising energy prices on their utility bills. Solstice Power Technologies, a customer management platform for community solar development, this week is beginning to enroll subscribers on three low-to-moderate-income (LMI) community solar projects developed by Reactivate, a joint venture of developer Invenergy and Lafayette Square, an impact investment fund.
The Reactivate program is specifically for income-eligible residents whose household must verify as 80% or less of the Area Median Income (AMI). Prospective enrollees can check if their household meets the AMI qualifications on Solstice’s website through the “See If You Qualify” prequalification form.
These projects provide benefits to income-qualified and energy transition communities and will deliver enough clean energy to power about 1,200 homes, providing customers a combined projected savings of $12 million over 20 years.
In addition to financial benefits for LMI and energy transition ratepayers, Reactivate reports that its projects will make important environmental contributions to Illinois’ climate priorities. Combined, the three community solar projects in development by Reactivate reportedly will generate nearly 13 million kWh of electricity per year, helping the state avoid 10,000 tons of CO2 emissions.
With 77% of Americans still unable to install rooftop solar, community solar bridges the physical and socio-economic barriers, providing the opportunity for more households to access local renewable energy with monthly savings on their electricity bill, says Solstice.
The Reactivate platform is among the first to collaborate with the statewide Illinois Solar for All (ILSFA) program, which spreads the benefits of low-cost, renewable energy to income-eligible Illinois residents.
Solstice manages the subscriptions of the large majority of projects underway. The subscription offering from Solstice and Reactivate will provide income-eligible residents with a deep community solar discount as well as an enrollment bonus from Solstice. Eligible residents will benefit from monthly savings of up to 50% off the supply portion of their utility bill and enjoy supporting local renewable energy generation.
“By working with Solstice we will provide economic relief to Illinois households, which include some families deciding between the expense of their utility bill and feeding their family,” said Jordan Leventhal, senior vice president of product development at Reactivate. “The cost savings from subscribing to our projects could be a lifeline for those families.”
Based in Cambridge, Mass., Solstice Power reports that it has sourced more than $1 million in aggregate electricity savings by community solar enrollment and has shared over $250,000 in revenue to grassroots organizations who spread the word about community programs and energy justice. The company is a subsidiary of global energy infrastructure company Mitsui & Co. Ltd., and operates under Mitsui’s North American investment arm, MyPower Corp.
Lafayette Square and Invenergy formed Reactivate in January 2022 as a community solar energy platform supporting development in underserved communities. The platform will finance, acquire, develop, and operate solar energy projects primarily serving LMI communities and areas disproportionately affected by the clean energy transition.
According to Reactivate, the company isn’t limited to community solar projects, and will also develop small-scale utility solar projects, energy storage, building electrification, and EV charging infrastructure. Beyond project financing and development, the company attests that it is focused on creating development, construction, and operational focused jobs while focusing worker training efforts on traditionally underrepresented segments of the workforce and those transitioning to the renewable energy industry.
By 2030, Reactivate seeks to develop 3 GW of renewable energy capacity, save $50 million in energy costs for LMI households, sign 100 contracts with minority or women-owned contractors, and facilitate workforce training for 2,500 underserved workers.
The Illinois Solar For All program established incentives for eligible low-income homeowners and renters for residential properties, properties that house non-profits and public facilities, and community solar projects. The program purportedly enables participants to see no upfront costs, and ongoing costs and fees are expected to not exceed 50% of the value of the energy generated from the solar project.
Commercial and industrial customers are offered an incentive based on system size from ComEd, one of Illinois’ largest utilities. Systems of 2,000 kW of capacity and below are offered $250 per kW.
Like most states, Illinois makes solar exempt from property taxes. Like all states and territories, Illinosians are offered the federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC), which cover 30% of system costs. The ITC is now available to many customers as a direct payment following new provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act.
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