Updates on Illinois Shines Block Capacity Following 2024-25 Program Year Opening, Soft Close Initiated and Concluded for EEC CS Group A Subcategory, Community Solar Next Steps

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The Illinois Shines 2024-25 Program Year successfully opened yesterday, June 3, 2024. A 2024-25 Program Year opening announcement provided stakeholders with key documents, updates and resources. The IPA and Program Administrator announce the following updates on block capacity and next steps for Traditional Community Solar and Community-Driven Community Solar. 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. The processing team has been reviewing previously waitlisted applications resulting in 1,184 Small DG Part I and 50 Large DG Part I applications verified on Monday.  The expanded processing team will continue to review and verify applications prioritized by submission date, meaning for Program categories with waitlists, waitlisted projects will be reviewed prior to applications received on/after June 3, 2024.

This announcement provides an update on block capacity by project category, following the uncontracted capacity reallocation process and final 2024-25 Program Year capacity, as detailed in a Friday, May 31, 2024 announcement, and following Part I application submissions on June 3, 2024.

Block Capacity Updates

On May 31, 2024, the Program provided detail on the final 2024-25 Program Year capacity following the reallocation of uncontracted capacity and the awarding of capacity to waitlisted projects. Please see the announcement for full details on capacity reallocation and final total capacity for each project category. Including both capacity awards to waitlisted projects and following Program opening on June 3, 2024, several blocks reached and exceeded their 2024-25 Program Year capacity, and Section 1.G. of the Program Guidebook provides for a soft close period which allows the block to remain open for seven calendar days or until the next project applications submitted to the block would exceed capacity by 10 megawatts. The TCS and CDCS categories are not eligible for soft close periods. The following project subcategory entered into a soft close: Equity Eligible Contractor (EEC) Community Solar (CS) Group A. Please see more information on the EEC CS Group A subcategory below.

The tables below provide detail on the Part I applications received (including size) for each project category.

GroupProject CategoryTier (Public Schools Only)Size (Public Schools Only)2024-25 Program Year Block Size (MW)Final 2024-25 Program Year Block Size (after reallocation and waitlist awards) (MW)Part I Applications batched on June 3, 2024MW batched on June 3, 2024Available Capacity after June 3, 2024 (MW)Waitlisted projects (MW)
N/ASmall DG  142.00208.17900.63141.3766.17
N/ALarge DG  142.00215.0110.03141.9773.01
Group ATCS  64.0064.0026.950.00184.28
CDCS  11.0013.7800.000.0020.20
EEC CS  36.0036.0014.950.00134.68
EEC DG  12.0012.0000.0012.000.00
Group BTCS  149.00149.0063154.780.00120.57
CDCS  25.0031.4800.000.0044.16
EEC CS  84.0084.0000.0056.8427.16
EEC DG  28.0028.0000.0028.000.00
N/APublic Schools (CS)1,2, EJC<250 kW4.686.4300.006.430.00
250 – 10009.3612.8700.0012.870.00
1000 – 50004.686.4300.006.430.00
3, 4<250 kW2.012.7600.002.760.00
250 – 10004.015.5100.005.510.00
1000 – 50002.012.7600.002.760.00
N/APublic Schools (DG)1,2, EJC<250 kW14.0419.3000.0019.300.00
250 – 100028.0938.6000.0038.600.00
1000 – 500014.0419.3000.0019.300.00
3, 4<250 kW6.028.2700.008.270.00
250 – 100012.0416.5400.0016.540.00
1000 – 50006.028.2700.008.270.00

Equity Eligible Contractor Community Solar (Group A) Block Reaches Capacity, Soft Close Period Initiated and Concluded

As mentioned above, the EEC CS Group A subcategory block closed on Day 1 of the Program Year, June 3, 2024, after going through the soft close process. The soft close period was both initiated and concluded on Day 1 of the Program Year. As a reminder, the soft close period allows a block to remain open for seven calendar days or until the next project application submitted would exceed the soft close capacity amount of 10 megawatts (MW).

Prior to the 2024-25 Program Year opening, capacity was allocated to eligible waitlisted projects. EEC CS Group A had a 2024-25 block size of 36.00 MW and a waitlist totaling 134.68 MW. After allocating up to 36.00 MW of capacity towards the waitlist prior to the new Program Year opening, a waitlist still remained. This triggered the soft close period to begin, as the block had effectively been exhausted of capacity. The soft close capacity amount for EEC CS Group A was 7.5 MW, which was 75% of the 10 MW of soft close capacity allotted to the EEC Group A category as a whole.

After allocating the 7.5 MW soft close capacity to waitlisted projects, a waitlist still remained. In other words, soft close capacity was immediately exhausted by the waitlist. This signaled the end of soft close and the official designation of the block being closed. For more information about the soft close process, please reference Section 1.G. of the Program Guidebook.

The Group A EEC Community Solar block is now closed, and a project waitlist for this subcategory will be added to the Program website at https://illinoisshines.com/block-capacity-dashboard/. At this time, new capacity for this Group/category is planned for the 2025-26 Program Year and is expected to be available on June 2, 2025.

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

As detailed above, the block capacity allocation has been exceeded for both Traditional Community Solar Groups A and B, as per Section 1.E. of the Program Guidebook, a “First Day” Scoring process has been triggered, as specified in the current Program Guidebook (published April 18, 2024), including the following next steps:

  • Application Review Period – Initial review by Program Administrator: Approximately 4 weeks
  • Application Cure Period – AVs cure deficiencies identified by Program Administrator: Approximately 2 weeks
  • 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
  • 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.

Following the full application review and scoring process, including cure periods, and the resolution of scoring appeals, if any, Traditional Community Solar scores will be posted. At that time, the Agency will announce if a random selection process is necessary to break ties between projects that received the same scores and where those scores would impact project selection, or waitlist placement. 

Community-Driven Community Solar (Group A and Group B) – Next Steps

As noted in Section 1.E. of the Program Guidebook, each Program Year there will be a 90-day application window for Community-Driven Community Solar projects to be submitted prior to any project selection. Upon closing of the 90-day application window, projects will be reviewed and scored based on the scoring criteria as outlined in Appendix F of the Guidebook, with projects selected from the application pool in the order of highest to lowest score until the available block capacity is fully allocated. A minimum score of 6 points must be achieved to be eligible for a REC contract in the CDCS category. After project selection for any given Program Year, projects that have a minimum score of 10 points will be placed on a waitlist for when capacity becomes available, which may be the following Program Year.

Thank you!    
Illinois Shines Program    
[email protected]