Each Program Year, Illinois Shines allocates incentives for a specific amount of capacity for new solar projects. The capacity for Distributed Generation, or on-site solar projects, in Group A has been fully depleted for the Program Year that runs from June 2023 through May 2024. Group A covers projects located in the Ameren service territory, as well as areas serviced by rural electric co-operatives and municipal electric providers in central and southern Illinois. The exhaustion of Program capacity for on-site solar projects in central and southern Illinois is limited to this Program Year, and does not mean that Illinois Shines or the state have run out of Program funds to support future projects.
Given the limitations on current Program capacity, customers should be aware that there could be a delay in the availability of the Illinois Shines incentive payments associated with Group A Distributed Generation projects, as well as possible changes in the incentive payment value estimation shared by the seller in the Disclosure Form.
The Illinois Shines program has waitlists for all Program project categories where capacity is exhausted prior to the close of the Program Year. The Agency encourages vendors to continue submitting applications for Distributed Generation projects sited in Group A to Illinois Shines, even though there is no Program capacity available for that category remaining for the current Program Year. Customers may still purchase, install, and finance solar projects in southern and central Illinois during the current Program Year. When the vendor submits the project application, the project will be placed on a waitlist and will be first in line when new capacity becomes available for the 2024-25 Program Year on June 1, 2024.
Project applications submitted to Illinois Shines have two parts:
- The Part I application is the initial application into the Program and contains detailed information on the system and its location. The Part I application holds the project’s place in line. Once a project is Part I approved, this means that the project is approved to receive incentives through Illinois Shines.
- The Part II application is completed after the project is built and energized. It shows that the project was built as described in the Part I application and is now up and running.
The Program Administrator will begin reviewing Part I waitlisted project applications for the 2024-25 Program Year on June 1, 2024, once more capacity is released to support these waitlisted projects. After approval of the Part II application, the Approved Vendor can submit an invoice for the Illinois Shines REC incentives. The incentives are then paid to the project’s Approved Vendor and the Approved Vendor may pass through some of the incentive payment to the customer (check the “Illinois Shines Incentive Payment” section of your Disclosure Form) For detailed information on the major application steps in the Illinois Shines program for customers, read the Guide to Going Solar with Illinois Shines.
Customers who have a Distributed Generation solar project participating in the Illinois Shines program can use the Project Look Up Tool to view the status of their project application. Knowing the project’s application status can provide insight on how close an Approved Vendor is to receiving the incentive payment for the project.
Delays in Illinois Shines incentives do not affect other economic benefits that customers receive from net metering, rebates offered by the utilities, or any federal tax incentives. Net metering is a billing mechanism where customers earn credit for the power their system produces and sends to the grid. ComEd, Ameren, and MidAmerican are required to provide customer bill credits for excess energy produced by their solar system at the full retail rate. Rural electric cooperatives and municipal electric utilities may credit customers for excess electricity in a different manner.
The Agency understands the lack of capacity in Group A for the current Program Year is causing delays and confusion for customers and Vendors, and therefore is actively working towards solutions to the capacity issue for future Program Years.