The Program Administrator completed initial review of submitted Community-Driven Community Solar (CDCS) applications and concluded the Application Scoring period on May 26, 2023. The process is now in the Scoring Cure Period. On May 26, 2023, the Program Administrator sent initial project scores to Approved Vendors (AVs), who now have the opportunity to review and resolve scoring discrepancies. The Scoring Cure Period is expected to last approximately two weeks, pending responsiveness from AVs. Please work to be prompt so that the process can proceed as timely as possible.
The Community-Driven Community Solar category intends to provide more direct and tangible connection and benefits to the communities which CDCS projects serve or in which they operate and, additionally, to increase the variety of community solar locations, models, and options in Illinois. The IPA Act defines “Community” as a social unit in which people come together regularly to effect change; a social unit in which participants are marked by a cooperative spirit, a common purpose, or shared interests or characteristics; or a space understood by its residents to be delineated through geographic boundaries or landmarks.
Using this consistent interpretation of “community” was used across all projects. In Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, and Will Counties, “community” will be limited to township as these are the most populated counties in the state. In all other counties, community will be considered the whole county.
After the Scoring Cure Period concludes, projects will be selected from the application pool in the order of highest to lowest score until the block is fully allocated. A minimum score of 6 points must be achieved to be eligible for a REC contract via the CDCS category. Random selection will be utilized as a tiebreaker only for equally scored projects to fill available capacity, if any. However, should the capacity available be so small as to only accommodate one or more projects below a certain size, then the Agency may only consider those projects small enough to not exceed that remaining capacity. After project selection, projects that have a minimum score of 10 points will be placed on a waitlist for the 2023-2024 Program year. The following rubric has been developed for this CDCS scoring process.
Primary Selection Criteria – Maximum of 20 points available
|Criteria||1 Point||2 Points||3 Points||4 Points|
|A. Community ownership or community wealth-building through having a minimum of 50% of the ownership of the project held by community residents or non-profit organizations which directly serve the community where the project is located. This would include having members of the community being able to participate in decisions regarding the governance, operation, maintenance, and upgrades of and to the project; and members of that community benefiting from the project through subscriptions to the project.||50% ownership||60% ownership||70% ownership||80% and up ownership|
|B. Additional direct and indirect benefits, beyond project participation as a subscriber, including, but not limited to, economic, environmental, social, cultural, and physical benefits. The application must quantify the value of these benefits and they must represent at least 20% of the REC contract value.||20% of REC contract value||25% of REC contract value||30% of REC contract value||More than 35% of REC contract value|
|C. Meaningful involvement in project organization and development by community members, non-profit organizations, or public entities located in or serving the community.||3 or fewer community members or organizations engaged in Moderate project organization and development||3 or fewer community members or organizations engaged in Substantial project organization and development||4 or more community members or organizations engaged in Moderate project organization and development||4 or more community members or organizations engaged in Substantial project organization and development|
|D. Engagement in project operations and management by nonprofit organizations, public entities, or community members.||Minimal community members’ or organizations’ involvement or plans for involvement in project operations and management.||Moderate community members’ or organizations’ involvement or plans for involvement in project operations and management.||Substantial community members’ or organizations’ involvement or plans for involvement in project operations and management||Extensive or more community members’ or organizations’ involvement or plans for involvement in project operations and management|
|E. Whether the project is developed in response to a site-specific RFP developed by community members, or a non-profit organization or public entity located in or serving the community.||-||-||-||Was indeed developed in response to site-specific RFP|
Secondary Selection Criteria – Maximum of 16 points available
|Criteria||1 Point||2 Points|
|A. Projects that are developed in collaboration with or to provide complementary opportunities for the Clean Jobs Workforce Network Program, the Illinois Climate Works Pre-apprenticeship Program, the Returning Residents Clean Jobs Training Program, the Clean Energy Contractor Incubator Program, or the Clean Energy Primes Contractor Accelerator Program.||Provide complementary opportunities to listed programs||Developed in collaboration w/listed programs|
|B. Projects that increase the diversity of locations of community solar projects in Illinois, including by locating in urban areas and population centers.||Population of locality is 50,000 – 69,999|
(Locality meaning city, town, or village)
|Population of locality is 70,000 or more
(Locality meaning city, town, or village)
|C. Projects that are located in Equity Investment Eligible Communities.||-||Whole project needs to be sited in EIEC; projects that are only partially in an EIEC will be reviewed on case-by-case basis.|
|D. Projects that are not greenfield projects.||-||Definition of greenfield: Greenfield project means a project proposed at a site that is either previously undeveloped land or agricultural land and that does not meet the definition of a brownfield site|
|E. Projects that serve only local subscribers. |
Local subscribers are subscribers in the same county as the project, or if that project’s county population is below 50,000, then also in adjacent counties.
|-||Need to serve local subscribers for the length of REC contract.|
|F. Projects that have a nameplate capacity that does not exceed 500 kW.||-||Nameplate capacity (project AC size) is 500 kW or less.|
|G. Projects that are developed by an equity eligible contractor.||-||All development work is done by the EEC.1|
|H. Projects that otherwise meaningfully advance the goals of providing more direct and tangible connection and benefits to the communities which they serve or in which they operate and increasing the variety of community solar locations, models, and options in Illinois.||Need to both provide connection/benefits OR increase variety of locations/models/options||Need to both provide connection/benefits AND increase variety of locations/models/options|
1 For purposes of this category, “project development work” refers to all construction and electrical work on a project, and project-specific site assessment work such as permitting, legal, and other site-specific development work, including work that may have already been undertaken prior to project application. Non-site specific development functions (such as general sales and marketing activities) will not be considered as project development work. This definition also differs from the “project workforce” definition utilized for the Minimum Equity Standards as outlined in P.A. 102-0662, for which a firm’s Illinois-based employees are included in the “project workforce” regardless of function.