Update and Next Steps Following November 1, 2022 Community Solar Application Opening

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The IPA and Program Administrator announce the following updates, after the November 1, 2022 application opening of the Traditional Community Solar category and the community solar application for the EEC and Public Schools categories. We thank stakeholders for their collaboration toward a successful day of Program activity, including providing feedback to the Agency and Program Administrator in real-time.

Block Capacity Updates: 

On November 1, 2022, several Blocks reached and exceeded their total 2022-2023 Program Year capacity:

  • Group A Traditional Community Solar capacity has now been exceeded, having received almost seven times as much batched capacity (349.32 MW) as is available (51.27 MW)
  • Group A Equity Eligible Contractor (EEC) capacity has now been exceeded, having received more than twice as much batched capacity (100.25 MW) as is available (43.59 MW)
  • Group B Traditional Community Solar capacity has now been exceeded, having received almost three times as much batched capacity (324.12 MW) as is available (119.63 MW)

Portal Downtime – Stripe Credit Card Fees 

It has been confirmed that those AVs that have selected credit card as the form of payment for their application fees, were charged double the credit card fee on the application fee invoice. In order to implement the correction for this, the portal will be down for maintenance at 8 PM central time today, November 2, 2022, for approximately 1 hour. The Program Administrator will contact affected AVs to issue a credit to those that have already paid and issue a correction to the invoices for those that have not.

Next Steps – Traditional Community Solar (Group A and Group B) 

Because the Block capacity allocation has been exceeded for both Traditional Community Solar Groups A and B, a “First Day” Scoring process has been triggered, as previously outlined in the Traditional Community Solar Final Scoring Guidelines and Rationale, shared on the October 24, 2022 informational webinar and multiple Program communications, and incorporated into the current Program Guidebook (published October 18, 2022), including the following next steps:

  1. Application Review Period – Initial review by Program Administrator: Approximately 4 weeks
  2. Application Cure Period – AVs cure deficiencies identified by Program Administrator: Approximately 2 weeks
  3. Application Scoring Period – Program Administrator begins scoring process for all relevant applications (those submitted without deficiencies and those that successfully cure deficiencies during the 2 week cure period): Approximately 3 weeks
  4. Scoring Cure Period – AVs review initial scores and dispute and resolve any discrepancies: Approximately 2 weeks

Final scores and project selection will be posted after Scoring Cure Period. Please note this schedule is tentative and will be dependent on both the quality and quantity of applications received. As a reminder, payment for submitted batches must be made within 10 days of batch submittal.

Next Steps – Equity Eligible Contractor Category 

The IPA is committed to the success of the Equity Eligible Contractor category.  The Agency is currently reviewing submissions to the EEC block through the lens of the requirements of the Illinois Power Agency Act, the Long-Term Plan, the Guidebook, and other Program materials.  The Agency will issue additional guidance on the matter of the category reaching capacity in the coming days.

Issue Reports and Bug Fixes 

The Agency and Program Administrator are aware of the following issues within the Program portal:

  • REC Estimate – Some Approved Vendor’s REC estimates vary from the estimates being generated by the portal as part of the Part I application. The IPA and the Program Administrator are reviewing all Part I REC estimates to ensure that they align with the requirements of the REC Contract and are being calculated correctly. The findings of this review will be communicated once review is complete.
    Approved Vendors will be given the opportunity to review any corrections during the Part I approval process. Any corrections needed will be applied prior to REC contract generation and submission to the ICC.
  • Contract Value – Upon submission of a 20-year contract value, when reviewed by AVs, some applications reverted to showing a 15-year contract value. This was a bug related to report viewing in the portal, but does not affect the submitted application nor its review.
  • Inverter Size – The Program Administrator understands that the term “Inverter Size” in Section 4 the Part I application may be unclear. Inverter size is intended to mean the nameplate capacity size AC for the project. If there are multiple inverters, AVs should input the sum of those inverters’ capacity in AC; if there is a single inverter, AVs should input the AC size of that single inverter. If you made an error in the submission of the system size for one or multiple submitted projects, please reach out to the Program Administrator. Because this impacts system size, the original invoice for batch fees will not correctly correspond with the application fees of the size of the project(s); some AVs may receive updated invoices for application fees as a result.
  • Land Use Permit(s) – Land use permit(s) are required for all projects that are ground mounted and over 250 kW AC in size. The portal currently does not have a specific upload field for this documentation, but a fix is in process. For the time being, Approved Vendors should utilize the Additional Uploads field to submit a land use permit or the confirmation that none is required. For those applications which are submitted without the required land use permit documentation, the IPA will allow projects to submit the permit during the application review cure period. All land use permits that are submitted during the cure period must meet all other Program/application requirements.