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Solar bills help state establish power targets
By Jim Hagerty
Three solar bills, written in 2010, will help Illinois establish solar power targets to meet requirements established last year that require the Illinois Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) to include more solar power.
According to 2009 legislation, a minimum of 6 percent of the RPS standard must be met by solar power by 2015. Meantime, the state is building foundations and establishing targets this year, which officials plan to be completed by 2014.
According to the 96th General Assembly, S.B. 3686 amends the Illinois Power Agency Act. Its provisions will provide that renewable wind farm energy makes room for solar power by 2016.
The bill will require 20 percent of solar power to come from large-scale sources, while 10 percent be derived from small scale distributors. The bill aims to provide requirements that renewable energy only be used from facilities within Illinois. The law would be effective in 2012.
H.B. 6202 would amend the Public Utilities Act. It would provide that renewable electrical (solar) facilities be powered by organic materials such as livestock manure, landscape trimmings and unadulterated wood waste.
The bill would also require electricity providers to continue carrying over excess kilowatt-hour credits and apply them to subsequent customer billing periods. Credits could be used at will or until customers terminate service.
S.B. 2505 would amend the property tax code. It would allow municipalites and counties to establish special service areas for green energy generation. Each green service area would include only property for which each owner enters into a contract with the city or county consenting to inclusion in a renewable energy project.
The bill also states that special service areas would not be subject to hearing notices included in property tax codes. Each property owner would obtain the right to make energy-efficient improvements parcels within a green service area. Landowners would be permitted to obtain government financing and subsidies set forth in the area’s guidelines. Financing and subsidy programs would not require upfront costs to landowners.
Cities and counties, under provisions of S.B. 2505, would be permitted to levy property taxes in connection with each green service area. Local governments also may issue bonds to subsidize projects within each area.
Bonds may be assigned, sold or pledged to the Illinois Finance Authority. S.B. 2505, therefore, would also amend the Illinois Finance Authority Act.
Each bill can be found at www.ilga.gov.
From the March 24-30, 2010 issue