Legislative Newsletter

December 2023

A monthly roundup of news and top highlights from the Illinois Power Agency

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IPA Wins U.S. Department of Energy’s Grand Prize Sunny Award for Equitable Community Solar

The Illinois Power Agency’s income-eligible solar program, Illinois Solar for All (ILSFA), was named as one of five grand prize winners at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) American-Made 2023 Sunny Awards. Five teams were selected by the DOE’s National Community Solar Partnership to receive a $10,000 Grand Prize for their community solar projects or programs. Out of the five teams, ILSFA was the only state program winner of a Grand Prize Sunny Award this year.  


Inaugurated by the DOE in 2022, the Sunny Awards is a prize competition that recognizes community solar projects and programs that employ or develop best practices to increase equitable access to the meaningful benefits of community solar for limited- and middle-income residential subscribers and their communities. 


“The Sunny Award winners’ projects and programs provide real world examples of how clean energy can bring benefits to households across the United States,” said Jeff Marootian, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary in the DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. “Through initiatives like the Sunny Awards, DOE is able to reduce energy costs for low- to moderate-income households and make clean solar energy accessible to all Americans.” 


ILSFA was named as one of five 2023 grand prize winners for serving as a blueprint for community solar programs that increase low-to-moderate-income households’ access to community solar subscriptions while providing electricity bill savings. ILSFA’s programmatic best practices and meaningful benefits include: 


  • Income-eligible community solar subscribers pay no upfront subscription fees and receive at least 50% of the monetary value generated from a subscriber’s share of the system with the community solar project. 
  • Residential households with incomes at 80% or less of area median income qualify for program incentives. 
  • ILSFA empowers income-eligible households and community organizations to both own and manage solar generating facilities. 
  • ILSFA promotes job opportunities in marginalized communities by requiring solar companies participating in the program to hire trainees from qualified job training programs. Foster care alumni, individuals with records, and those who reside in environmental justice and income-eligible communities are especially encouraged to participate in job training programs. 
  • ILSFA engages income-eligible communities’ feedback, including community outreach, education, and recruitment when designing community solar projects. 


“Winning a Grand Prize Sunny Award this year, as well as a Meaningful Benefit Award last year, reflects the tireless efforts of those who work on the Illinois Solar for All program. This includes our Agency and Program Administrator’s staff, Grassroots Educators, evaluators, and our program stakeholders,” said ILSFA Senior Program Manager Jennifer Schmidt. “By adopting best practices and removing barriers to solar access and affordability, Illinois Solar for All continues to foster the growth of solar development in income-eligible and environmental justice communities in Illinois.”

ICC Approves Results of Indexed Procurement Event

On December 14, the Illinois Commerce Commission approved the results of the IPA’s Fall 2023 Indexed REC Procurement used to support the development of new utility-scale solar, utility-scale wind, and brownfield site photovoltaic projects.


Through the Fall 2023 Indexed REC Procurement, REC delivery contracts were awarded to support the development of over 1000 megawatts (MW) of new renewable energy projects: two new utility-scale wind projects (500 MW), seven new utility-scale solar projects (569.75 MW) and one new brownfield site photovoltaic project (20 MW). 814.75 MW of projects selected are in the MISO portion of Illinois, while 275 MW (three solar projects) are in the PJM portion of the state.


After only one wind project was selected in the June 2022 Indexed REC procurement event and no wind projects were selected in the subsequent two procurement events, the IPA is encouraged to see two wind projects’ selection in this procurement. Still, more work remains to bring wind project support into line with ambitious RPS goals. Most recently, the Agency and its and Procurement Administrator have engaged in extensive research and stakeholder engagement efforts to get insights factors and trends impacting participation for wind projects. Additionally, on December 15, the IPA also conducted an educational webinar for its stakeholders on ‘The State of Wind Energy.’ The webinar was designed to educate stakeholders on the barriers and potential opportunities on the development of wind projects in Illinois. The recording and the presentation of the webinar can be found on the IPA website. 


The schedule for the IPA’s next Indexed REC procurement events will be determined through the IPA’s 2024 Long-Term Renewable Resources Procurement Plan.  

IPA Provides Enhanced Support and Streamlines Certification Process for Equity Eligible Contractors

The IPA and the Program Administrator for the Illinois Shines program are committed to the success of Equity Eligible Contractors (EEC). As part of that commitment, the Program Administrator has recently made significant enhancements to the Become an Equity Eligible Contractor page on the Illinois Shines website. This landing page has been updated to provide a more seamless and supportive user experience for solar contractors and subcontractors navigating the EEC certification journey.

Enhancements are as follows:

  • The “Simple Steps to becoming a certified Equity Eligible Contractor” section has been streamlined to ensure a more user-friendly and efficient application process. This step-by-step guide now offers clearer instructions on how to become EEC certified and what to expect throughout the certification journey, empowering prospective EECs to navigate the process with confidence.

  • Recognizing the importance of personalized assistance, the EEC landing page now highlights the availability of dedicated support from the EEC Sector Strategist, during and following EEC certification. This personalized support underscores the Agency’s commitment to fostering the success of EECs in the renewable energy sector.

  • To enhance outreach initiatives and facilitate collaboration between the IPA and its Program Administrators, an accompanying EEC flyer (linked below) has been developed to effectively communicate how to “Become an Equity Eligible Contractor,” encouraging increased engagement and participation.

The IPA hopes that these enhancements will not only simplify the certification journey for companies and non-profit organizations seeking EEC certification, but also provide the necessary support for EECs to access the benefits of a clean energy economy.

Please visit the EEC landing page on the Illinois Shines website to experience the latest improvements.

The new EEC flyer can be accessed and downloaded directly from the EEC webpage.

IPA Policy Study Update

On December 8, Governor Pritzker signed Senate Bill 1699 into law as Public Act 103-0580.

Public Act 103-0580 requires the IPA to conduct a Policy Study to evaluate the potential impacts of three proposals made during the Illinois General Assembly’s Spring 2023 Legislative Session and provide policy recommendations back to the General Assembly. The provisions of Public Act 103-0580 related to the Policy Study are the same as those contained in House Bill 3445 (HB 3445), which the General Assembly passed on May 26.

The following proposals are the subject of the IPA Policy Study:

  • Senate Bill 1587 would require the Agency to develop a storage procurement plan that would result in electric utilities contracting for energy storage credits from contracted energy storage systems.
  • House Bill 2132 would require the Agency to develop a procurement process to “procure at least 700,000 renewable energy credits, delivered annually for at least 20 years, from one new utility-scale offshore wind project [in Lake Michigan].”
  • A policy requiring the Agency to procure HVDC renewable energy credits related to an HVDC line, which the Agency understands to be the Soo Green Line.

As the Agency had previously determined to proceed with the Policy Study regardless of the final status of HB 3445, enactment of SB 1699 into law does not change the Agency’s plans.

The IPA will publish a draft of the Policy Study by January 22, 2024 for public comment and will publish a final Study no later than March 1, 2024.

ICC Approves the IPA's 2024 Electricity Procurement Plan

On December 14, 2023, the ICC approved the IPA’s 2024 Electricity Procurement Plan, which serves as the Agency’s roadmap for meeting the electricity supply needs of residential and small commercial customers taking fixed price service from Illinois electric utilities.


For more information, please see the ICC’s Final Order. The 2024 Electricity Procurement Plan will be published on the IPA’s Current Approved Plans webpage in early 2024.

IPA Proposes New Consumer Protection Proposals in 2024 Long-Term Plan

On October 20, 2023, the IPA filed its 2024 Long-Term Renewable Resources Procurement Plan with the Illinois Commerce Commission for approval. The Long-Term Plan, developed and published every two years, details goals and strategies for the IPA’s renewable energy programs and procurements. 

The 2024 Long-Term Plan contains several novel proposals to address new and emerging consumer protection issues:

  • Instituting a solar restitution program. The IPA has proposed a solar restitution program to compensate qualifying customers financially harmed by a solar contractor participating in Illinois Shines or Illinois Solar for All. While the vast majority of solar purchases across the state result in satisfied customers, some transactions may result in negative experiences and consumer harm. The IPA’s proposed restitution program would provide economic assistance to customers that may have been harmed due to any solar companies’ unfair or misleading practices. In the 2024 Long-Term plan, the Agency proposes to use a phased approach to developing the restitution program, so that it can learn and adjust its approach as it grows.


  • Escrow process. In its 2024 Long-Term Plan, the Agency has proposed developing an escrow process to be used only when the direct program participant (a solar project developer) exhibits a high likelihood of not passing through promised incentive payments to customers. For background, across many transactions, a solar company may structure its customer offer such that the company passes through a lump sum incentive payment to the customer. In limited cases, to ensure that the customer benefits, that incentive payment would instead go to an escrow agent to ensure that the customer receives promised program incentives.

For more information, see Chapter 9 of the filed Plan, which focuses on Consumer Protection.

Illinois Solar for All Extends Bright Neighborhoods Initiative


The IPA’s ILSFA Program has extended its Bright Neighborhoods initiative until March 31, due to increased interest. For background, the Bright Neighborhoods initiative tests and evaluates ways to improve ILSFA participation levels in three areas of the state featuring high number of income-eligible households, but low participation rates. Under the Bright Neighborhoods initiative, income-eligible households across the West Garfield Park community in Chicago, Waukegan, and the Carbondale-Marion area (including Jackson, Williamson, and Johnson counties) can install solar energy with no upfront costs and guaranteed long-term savings through the pilot program.


To learn more about the pilot initiative, visit Bright Neighborhoods on the Program website. 

IPA Legislative Updates

IPA Working to Establish Springfield Office 

As the IPA’s workload and staffing continues to expand, the Agency is seeking to establish a new base of operations in Springfield. To this end, the Agency is engaging in discussions with the Illinois Commerce Commission on entering into an Intergovernmental Agreement to utilize vacant space in the Leland Building in downtown Springfield. The IPA hopes that having defined Springfield offices providing easier access to the Capitol helps the Agency make more constructive contributions debates over energy-related legislative proposals and helps the IPA better serve the needs of elected officials.  

IPA Hiring Legislative Affairs Manager 

The IPA is in the process of hiring a Legislative Affairs Manager. The IPA’s Legislative Affairs Manager will serve as the Agency’s legislative liaison and will be responsible for representing the IPA before Illinois General Assembly members and government decision-makers at both the state and local levels, including maintaining relationships with elected officials and their staff. The Agency hopes to have this position filled no later than February 2024.  


Did you know that the IPA hosted ten educational Power Hour webinars in 2023?

The webinars featured a wide range of energy topics. Additionally, thought leaders and energy experts nationally and locally presented the webinars. The 2023 Power Hour webinars featured the following topics:

Archived Power Hour webinars can be found on the IPA Events page. The IPA will resume its 2024 Power Hour webinar series in February.

IPA Staff Spotlight

Tori Tartaglia

On December 1, Tori Tartaglia joined the IPA as the Communications Associate. Tori will support the Agency on PR initiatives by utilizing her messaging and storytelling skillset to create compelling content for IPA newsletters, website content, and social media. Tori previously served as a digital strategist for an award-winning digital fundraising agency for Democratic campaigns and organizations based in Washington D.C. In this role, Tori helped build and execute high-volume digital campaigns and specialized in data analysis, legislative research, and rapid-response management.

Alivia Beck

On December 1, Alivia Beck joined the IPA as the Communications Associate. Alivia will support the Agency on internal trainings, marketing initiatives, weekly email announcements, website content management, and social media monitoring. Alivia previously served as a consultant at Gagen MacDonald, where she worked on internal communications campaigns, thought leadership, and crisis management initiatives for a Fortune 50 pharmaceutical company.

Candice Briggs

On November 1, Candice Briggs joined the IPA as Executive Assistant. In this role, Candice will support and execute special projects for the IPA Director’s Office. In addition, she will provide administrative support to the IPA’s Executive team.


Candice previously served the City of Chicago as an executive assistant, office and project manager, government relations liaison, and legislative aide.

Illinois Power Agency Launches People Power Video

The IPA recently launched its employee focused video, People Power. The video provides an inside look at what makes the IPA unique from other employers, the diverse skillset and experiences of IPA employees, and what motivates them. 

IPA in the News

WAND-TV (Central Illinois TV station): Illinois Power Agency Wins DOE Award

Energy News Network: Community solar projects seen as key step toward energy justice in Illinois


IPA Incentive Solar Programs: Basic Key Differences and Similarities 

Exploring Illinois Shines and Illinois Solar for All 


State Incentives for Public Schools to Go Solar 

Public Schools Informational Brochure  

Public Schools Project Guide  


Community Solar 

How does Community Solar Work within Illinois Solar for All? 

Explore Community Solar within Illinois Shines 


Equity in the Clean Energy Economy 

The Work Ahead: Staffing the Clean Energy Economy  

Equitable Solar Workforce Development: Challenges and Opportunities

Energy Workforce Equity Portal Flyer (includes Spanish translation) 

Equity Eligible Person (EEP) Postcard (includes Spanish translation) 


Outreach Events

IPA outreach staff attended the Teamwork Englewood Resource/Hiring Event on December 6.

Outreach Training and Meetings

  • Energy Workforce Equity Portal Virtual Meeting with DHS, Office of the Chief of Staff, December 1
  • Energy Workforce Equity Portal Virtual Meeting with Heartland Alliance, December 7
  • Energy Workforce Equity Portal Virtual Meeting with Copeland Construction, December 18


Brian Granahan

Acting Director

Illinois Power Agency

Email: [email protected]

Telephone: (312) 814-4635

Megha Hamal

Chief Strategy and Communications Officer

Illinois Power Agency

Email: [email protected]

Telephone: (312)-793-8038