Yesterday Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed into law HB 6202, a “Solar Ramp-Up Bill” that would help the state and utilities meet renewable energy requirements established under the renewable portfolio standard. The bill requires 6 percent of utility energy to come from solar power by 2015.
Governor Quinn and state legislators passed this new bill in the hopes of assuring achievement of state renewable energy mandates, while ensuring that a healthy percentage of that energy comes from solar. Utilities must get at least one-half percent of their power from solar by 2012, with that total doubling each year (tripling between 2012 and 2013) until it reaches 6 percent in 2015.
HB 6202 amends the state’s net metering laws, making the date by which Illinois’ two largest utilities, Commonwealth Edison and Ameren, must begin purchasing solar power. The new 2012 deadline is three years earlier than previously required.
Governor Quinn expects the two bills to add 5,000 new solar energy jobs in Illinois.
Solar Manufacturing Plant Opens in Rockford, PV Plant To Follow
Yesterday Governor Quinn also attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony at a new 200-acre solar manufacturing plant opening in the city of Rockford. Wanxiang America Corporation begins production at the plant with an initial workforce of only 12 workers, but plans to add over 40 new second- and third-shift workers in the immediate future. Another 300 workers could be hired over the next few years, when the plant reaches full manufacturing capacity.
In a very busy day for Quinn and Illinois solar power, the governor also announced $4 million in stimulus grants to help build a 62-MW solar power plant at the Wanxiang site. It will be the largest PV plant in the Midwest and one of the largest in the nation. The plant will produce enough solar electricity to power over 10,000 homes.