The Illinois adjustable block program, known as Illinois Shines, will begin accepting applications for Energy Year 2023-2024 on June 1, 2023. Here’s everything you need to know.
The Illinois adjustable block program helps Illinois Investor-Owned utilities meet the state’s renewable portfolio standard and reduce carbon emissions. The program was initially created in 2016 as a result of the passage of the Future Energy Jobs Act (FEJA), but was so successful that it eventually went over capacity and ran out of funding. In 2021, the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (CEJA) was passed and set a target for Illinois to achieve 100% clean energy by 2050. CEJA infused new funding into the adjustable block program in order to help utilities meet this renewable portfolio standard, allowing it to approve a backlog of projects awaiting funding. After a full energy year in 2022-2023, the program is finally opening again to accept new projects for energy year 2023-2024.
How it works
Businesses can apply to the utility for annual capacity to receive fixed payment for a fixed term. The payment is determined by the type and size of your solar project and is based on the Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) your system generates. Each year, capacity is allocated to various market segments, and prices for each category are established through a stakeholder process.
REC Pricing and Capacity Allocations for 2023-24
Projects fall into two groups based on what utility they are in:
- Group A represents allocations for Commonwealth Edison and other utilities participating in PJM.
- Group B represents Ameren and other utilities participating in MISO.
There are four main project segments in each utility:
- Distributed Generation: For projects, serving onsite load. These types of projects have 15-year REC contract terms.
- Traditional community solar: For projects where credits are sent to offsite customers. These types of projects have 20-year REC contract terms.
- Community Driven Community solar: These projects functionally works the same as traditional community solar but have special parameters around who is served by the system. The program can require additional local investment and benefits sharing, with an emphasis on serving local and disadvantaged communities. Community Driven Community Solar projects have 15-year REC contracts.
- Public Schools: For projects that are sited on and serve onsite load at public schools. These project types have 20-year REC contracts.
Lastly REC contract prices vary by project size and are listed in the table below for energy year 2023-2024.
New Capacity Levels
Below are the Capacity allocations for each program segment for the Energy Year 23-24.
The application process for the adjustable block program consists of two parts.
- Part 1 of the application includes disclosure forms, project information, and a fee based on the size of your system. Submitting a part 1 application is how your project reserves capacity in its respective program segment.
- For the Large DG segment there is an additional requirement of having completed an interconnection study with your utility. This is to ensure that the grid has capacity to accommodate your system. This study can take 1-2 months. You cannot reserve capacity or complete a part 1 application for a large DG project without this so it is important to factor this into the timeline for your project development.
- Part 2 of the application takes place when the system has been built and interconnected and includes final system details and system output to finalize the REC contract with the utility.
Starting from June 1st, 2023, part 1 applications for the program will be accepted continuously until the available capacity is filled. Please note that approval is not guaranteed due to the program’s structure and limited annual capacity. To increase your chances of securing capacity, it is advisable to act promptly and initiate your project development process with an approved vendor. Empower Energies, an Approved Vendor, can assist you in navigating this process and ensuring the progress of your project while securing the necessary capacity.