About the Program

In 2016, the Illinois legislature passed the Future Energy Jobs Act (Public Act 99-0906 or FEJA). FEJA reflected significant collaboration and negotiation between energy companies, environmental groups, and consumer advocates, and mandated higher renewable energy targets in the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard. The Act ultimately requires 100 percent use of renewable energy sources in Illinois by 2050, including provisions to make solar energy more available to low- and moderate-income communities.

Illinois Shines, legislatively known as the Adjustable Block Program, supports the development of on-site solar (distributed generation) as well as community solar projects. On September 15, 2021, Governor Pritzker signed the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (Public Act 102-0662 or CEJA) which included significant expansion of the Program, reinforced the Program’s consumer protection requirements, established prevailing wage requirements, and incorporated policies to ensure an equitable transition to a clean energy future. Effective July 1, 2022, Energy Solutions is the third-party Program Administrator for Illinois Shines.

In response to CEJA’s enactment, Illinois Shines made the following changes:

Three new project categories

Projects located at public schools, Community-Driven Community Solar projects, and projects submitted by Equity Eligible Contractors

A new option for projects from Equity Eligible Contractors

To receive advances on incentive capital, which will help reduce barriers to participation in the Program and help to diversify the participating Approved Vendors

Updated consumer protection measures

To ensure consumers are protected from unfair business practices, and introduction of a Consumer Protection Handbook that streamlines and consolidates requirements for Approved Vendors and Designees (solar developers and their subcontractors)

Prevailing wage requirements

For projects participating in Illinois Shines, ensuring that employees, contractors, and subcontractors are receiving local prevailing wages set by the Illinois Department of Labor

Collection of demographic data

For Approved Vendors and Designees in order to support a future racial disparity study to measure the presence and impact of discrimination on minority businesses and workers in Illinois’ clean energy economy

The establishment of the Equity Accountability System and the Minimum Equity Standard

Which requires a growing percentage of Equity Eligible Persons to make up the project workforce of participating Approved Vendors and Designees

About the Illinois Power Agency

The IPA was established in 2007 by Public Act 95-0481. Its goals and objectives are to accomplish each of the following:


Develop electricity procurement plans to ensure adequate, reliable, affordable, efficient, and environmentally sustainable electric service at the lowest total cost over time, taking into account any benefits of price stability, for residential and small commercial customers of Ameren, ComEd, and MidAmerican. The electricity procurement plan is updated annually.


Conduct competitive procurement processes to procure the supply resources identified in the procurement plan.


Develop and implement a Zero Emission Standard Procurement Plan.


Develop a Long-Term Renewable Resources Procurement Plan and implement the programs and procurements contained in the Plan, including the Illinois Shines (Adjustable Block Program) Illinois Shines and the Illinois Solar for All Program.


Develop electric generation and co-generation facilities that use indigenous coal or renewable resources, or both, financed with bonds issued by the Illinois Finance Authority.


Supply electricity from any Agency facilities at cost to one or more of the following: municipal electric systems, governmental aggregators, or rural electric cooperatives in Illinois.

About Illinois Shines

Illinois Shines makes going solar more affordable for more people across Illinois.  With valuable incentives, step-by-step guidance, important consumer protection oversight, and an emphasis on equity, Illinois Shines helps everyone in Illinois be a part of the clean energy future, whether you install your own solar panels or not. 

There are two main ways that Illinois Shines supports solar energy:

Illinois Shines provides incentives to solar vendors to develop DG and CS projects, which can be passed on to customers. Illinois Shines helps you find approved solar vendors, understand which project type might be right for you, and understand the financial considerations of these options.

Illinois Shines incentives for solar projects are provided through payments made for Renewable Energy Credits, or RECs, which are generated by participating Distributed Generation and Community Solar projects. RECs are widely used in energy markets and represent the environmental value of energy generated by renewable sources, including solar. With RECs, renewable energy sent to the utility grid is tracked, and a REC is issued when one megawatt-hour of electricity from a renewable energy source is added to the electrical grid. The Illinois Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) increases the use of renewable energy generated by projects such as solar panels and wind turbines. The RPS requires electric utilities to purchase RECs to meet their obligations to obtain defined portions of their electric power from renewable resources, thus providing financial value to RECs produced through the Illinois Shines program. 

How does Illinois Shines utilize RECs to fulfill The Climate and Equitable Jobs Act’s goals for renewable energy generation?

Watch this video to learn more about RECs

  • Each Program year, REC prices are set for the megawatts of electrical capacity that is made available across project categories.
  • Solar providers calculate the estimated RECs that an individual Distributed Generation or Community Solar project will produce over a period of 15 to 20 years of operation.
  • With Illinois Shines, DG customers agree to transfer ownership of RECs to their solar vendor, who then receives payment for them from utilities.  Solar vendors may pass the value of these payments to the customer in the form of reduced installation costs or other methods agreed upon in a contract.  Solar vendors will disclose the REC values for a project, along with system or subscription costs, to the customer, who can consider offers from multiple vendors. Projects and contracts may be structured in different ways by different vendors, allowing consumers to consider the offer that best meets their needs. 

Available Program Documents