Adding a solar energy system to your home is a great way to clip the leash that ties you inexorably to the utility company that sells you electricity. With solar panels on the roof, you’re capturing the UV rays of the sun and converting them to electricity. It’s very much as though you have your own energy plant sitting on the roof of your home or office, or even in the backyard. But there are options in how you’ll reap the financial rewards of your solar energy system.
You can have a solar energy system installed, use the electricity generated by the solar panels and take advantage of NET Metering. NET Metering is where the utility has to provide credits for energy your panels produce but that you don’t use. Then, on days or nights when your panels don’t produce enough electricity, you can take advantage of your credits to cover the cost of electricity you use from the utility’s grid.
Illinois Shines is a program that illuminates another option for financial benefits of solar
It’s called Illinois Shines and it’s an Adjustable Block Program designed to help the state reach its goal of producing 25 percent of its energy through renewable sources by the year 2025. In particular, it reduces the consumer’s costs of installing a solar energy system through payments in exchange for their Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs).
As an incentive to ‘go solar,’ Illinois Shines allows a homeowner to sell their SRECs to the utility company over a 15-year period. The utility is obligated to purchase the SRECs in support of renewable energy.
An approved vendor submits your PV (photovoltaic) system to the Illinois Power Agency for inclusion in the program. The contractor installing your solar energy system is required to provide an Illinois Shines Brochure and a Standard Disclosure Form that includes information about the installation process, estimated costs and potential savings, and contact information related to the Illinois Shines program.
A homeowner can keep their SRECs or sell them to someone else. However, Illinois Shines increases the likelihood that a homeowner will save more money with their solar energy system.