This resource is designed to help you understand your Disclosure Form. The Disclosure Form shown here is a sample and may not exactly match your Disclosure Form. See the glossary for helpful terms and definitions.
If your Community Solar Provider has already determined which solar project you will be subscribed to, that information will be provided here. If your Community Solar Provider does not yet know which project you will be subscribed to, they will notify you once that has been determined.
Some Community Solar Providers will sign up customers before the community solar project is built to make sure that they will have enough subscribers once the project starts operating. In this case, there may be several months between when you sign up and when you start receiving bill credits.
This section will only appear if the community solar offer requires that you allow the Community Solar Provider to manage your utility account and bill payment.
Make sure you understand any agreement that you sign, including what rights and authorizations you are granting to the Community Solar Provider.
This section will only appear if the community solar offer requires that you sign up with an Alternative Retail Electric Supplier (ARES).
When you sign up with an ARES, you buy your electricity from the ARES, but the utility still delivers the power. Many ARES charge higher rates for electricity than the utility. If you buy electricity from an ARES, you will still receive bill credits for your community solar subscription at the utility’s Price to Compare (which may be lower than the price you are paying for electricity to the ARES). On the other hand, if the ARES electricity rate is lower than the Price to Compare, you may accumulate bill credits faster than expected.
My Electric Utility is:
If you are a customer in ComEd service territory, you will receive bill credits at the utility’s “Price to Compare.” You can visit www.PlugInIllinois.org to learn more about the Price to Compare and to see the current Price to Compare.
Your community solar bill credits each month will be calculated by multiplying the number of kWh your share of the solar project generated by the Price to Compare, to get a dollar amount of bill credits.
Your community solar bill credits roll over each month and do not expire unless you move to a new utility’s service territory. Your community solar bill credits apply to all of the electricity charges from ComEd. If you buy your electricity supply from ComEd, that means if your community solar credits are more than your supply charges, the credits will then apply to other sections of your electricity bill, including delivery charges and other fees.
If you close your ComEd account and do not immediately open a new account (at a new address within ComEd’s territory), ComEd will send you a check for excess credits on your account, including any accumulated community solar bill credits. If you close one account and opens another ComEd account before that refund check is sent out (generally on the same day or very shortly after), any excess credits will be transferred over to the new account automatically.
If you buy electricity from an ARES, you will still receive bill credits from ComEd for your community solar subscription calculated based on the utility’s Price to Compare (which may be different than the price you are paying for electricity to the ARES). If you receive a single electric bill from ComEd, the community solar bill credits will apply to the entire electric bill. If you receive separate bills from ComEd and from the ARES, the community solar bill credits will only apply on the ComEd bill. If you receive a single bill from the ARES, the community solar bill credits will be applied to the ComEd charges on the bill.
If you are a residential or small business customer in Ameren service territory and receive supply service from Ameren, you will receive bill credits at the utility’s “Price to Compare.” You can visit www.PlugInIllinois.org to learn more about the Price to Compare and to see the current Price to Compare.
Your community solar bill credits roll over each month and do not expire unless you move to a new utility’s service territory. If you move within Ameren’s service territory, you get to keep any accumulated community solar bill credits (as long as you set up your new account within 12 months of closing your previous account). Currently, the bill credits only apply to the Ameren supply and transmission charges on your electricity bill. In November2023, Ameren will start applying bill credits to the entire electricity bill that is sent to the customer by Ameren. Your community solar credits will apply first to your delivery charges, and if the credits are more than the delivery charges, they will next apply to your supply and transmission charges, and then other fees and taxes.
Starting in November, if you receive a single electric bill from Ameren, the community solar bill credits will apply to the entire electric bill. If you receive separate bills from Ameren and from the ARES, the community solar bill credits will only apply to charges that are on the Ameren bill. If you receive a single bill only from the ARES, the community solar bill credits will be applied to the Ameren charges on the bill.
If you are a residential or small non-residential customer and you buy electricity from an ARES, you will still receive bill credits from Ameren for your community solar subscription calculated based on the utility’s Price to Compare (which may be different than the price you are paying for electricity to the ARES).
If you are a large commercial or industrial customer, your community solar credits, your community solar credits are currently calculated based on the rate your ARES charges for electricity supply and transmission service, and are applied by your ARES. Starting in November, Ameren will calculate your community solar bill credits based on Ameren’s “Price to Compare” and will apply your community solar bill credits to all electricity charges that are billed by Ameren.
Alternative Retail Electric Supplier (ARES)
Companies other than the default electric utility that sell electric supply. Customers may choose to purchase electricity supply from an ARES rather than the default utility. The utility will still deliver the electricity and generally will still bill for both supply and delivery.
Approved Vendor (AV)
Solar contractor or developer that enrolls your solar project in the Illinois Shines program, and also sells the Renewable Energy Credits (“RECs”) generated from solar projects to the utility in exchange for an Illinois Shines incentive payment.
Capacity Factor (CF)
The ratio of actual energy generated by a power plant over a time period (usually a year) and the total energy that power plant could have generated over the same time period, if it was optimally sited and ran at full capacity 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The capacity factor for solar projects may seem relatively low, because solar projects only generate electricity when the sun is shining.
Entities that have direct interaction with end use customers on behalf of an Approved Vendor. Designees may work as installers, marketing firms, lead generators, and/or sales organizations on behalf of an Approved Vendor. Designees must be registered with the Program.
Distributed Generation (DG)
A system that generates electricity and is located on-site, behind a customer’s meter, and used primarily to offset a single customer’s load; it cannot exceed 2,000 kW AC in size. Distributed generation (also called on-site generation or decentralized generation) is a term describing the generation of electricity for use on-site, rather than transmitting energy over the electric grid from a large, centralized facility (such as a coal-fired power plant).
Distributed Generation Rebate
Under the Illinois Public Utilities Act (220 ILCS 5/16-107.6), ComEd and Ameren must both offer a rebate to customers who install distributed generation projects, including solar, that meet certain eligibility requirements, including being equipped with a smart inverter. ComEd refers to this as the Distributed Generation Rebate. More information from ComEd is available at https://www.comed.com/.
Federal Tax Credit
The federal government has a tax credit program for solar projects. Owners of residential solar projects may be eligible to deduct up to 30% of the cost of their solar project from their federal income taxes. The Department of Energy’s Homeowner’s Guide to the Federal Tax Credit for Solar Photovoltaics is available at https://www.energy.gov/. Note that some homeowners may not pay enough in federal income tax to be able to use the full value of the tax credit, but tax credits can be rolled over to use in a subsequent year. Consult a tax professional to discuss your circumstances.
Illinois Power Agency
State Agency that administers the procurement of renewable energy resources to meet Illinois’ renewable energy goals, including renewable energy incentive programs like Illinois Shines.
A state program administered by the Illinois Power Agency that supports the development of new photovoltaic distributed generation systems and new photovoltaic community renewable generation projects in Illinois through the purchase of Renewable Energy Credits (“RECs”). Illinois Shines is also commonly referred to by its legislative name, the “Adjustable Block Program.”
Illinois Solar for All (ILSFA)
A state program administered by the Illinois Power Agency that supports the development of new photovoltaic distributed generation and new community renewable generation projects that serve low- and middle-income households, and non-profits and public facilities that serve and are located in environmental justice communities or income-eligible communities.
The process of connecting a solar project to the electric grid, which requires approval from the utility that operates the electric grid. All Illinois Shines projects must be interconnected to the electric grid.
1,000 watts of electrical power.
1,000 watts of power used for one hour. Electrical energy consumption and production is measured in kWh. For example, if a 100-watt lightbulb is used for 10 hours, it will use 100 watts of electricity per hour, or 1000 watts over 10 hours. Over the 10-hour period, the lightbulb used 1 kWh.
Mechanic’s lien waiver
A document, often provided to a customer upon completion of payment, that indicates that a contractor is waiving its right to file a mechanic’s lien. A mechanic’s lien is used by contractors to ensure that they are paid; the lien gives the contractor a security interest in the customer’s property.
Metering and billing arrangement to compensate distributed energy generation (DG) system owners for generation that is exported to the utility grid.
The entity responsible for running day to day operations of Illinois Shine, which is currently Energy Solutions.
The company that will complete the installation work for the solar project.
The company that enters into the installation / sales contract with the customer.
Renewable Energy Credits (RECs)
The environmental attributes of 1 MWh of electricity generated by a renewable generator, such as a solar project. Note that 1 MWh = 1000 kW.
Smart Inverter Rebate
Under the Illinois Public Utilities Act (220 ILCS 5/16-107.6), ComEd and Ameren must both offer a rebate to customers who install distributed generation projects, including solar, that meet certain eligibility requirements, including being equipped with a smart inverter. Ameren sometimes refers to this as the Smart Inverter Rebate.