What’s in it for you? A look at Illinois’ massive new clean energy bill

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Illinois’ massive new clean energy bill, signed into law last this month, is a landmark in the state’s battle against climate change: a systematic plan for boosting solar and wind power, getting a million electric cars on the road, and phasing out coal and natural gas by 2050.

It’s also an opportunity for consumers to save some cash, analysts say.

Whether you’re installing solar panels, buying an electric car, or just looking for a break on your electricity bill, the energy law offers incentives, both new and familiar. Estimated savings range from 5% to 10% on your electric bill, $4000 on an electric car purchase and about $8,000 to $9,000 on a new rooftop solar energy system for your home.

“There are opportunities for you to benefit tremendously from going solar,” said John Delurey, a senior regional director at Vote Solar, a nonprofit that supports the equitable expansion of solar power.

One of the easiest ways is to reduce your energy bill is to take advantage of a community solar plan. An Illinois solar farm sells energy to the grid, reaping profits because solar energy is relatively inexpensive to produce and government incentives defray startup costs. Some of the profits are passed on to you as a member of the plan, and you get a discount on your electric bill and the satisfaction of knowing you’re supporting clean energy.

Illinois community solar plans vary, but many offer roughly 5% to 10% off your electric bill, Delurey said.

The upfront cost for installing a solar rooftop is about $22,000 in Illinois, said Delurey, but the state will pay for about $8,500 of that through an incentive program, and you can claim a hefty 26% rebate on that initial cost on your federal taxes. That reduces your upfront costs by about $14,200, making the tab about $7,800.

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It will take about eight or nine years for your solar energy savings to pay back that reduced upfront cost, Delurey said, but the system should last for 25 years.

Delurey said his electric bill went from $80 to $12 when he had a solar system installed, meaning that he saves about $820 a year.

“I would happily take those savings and put them toward other things, and I love knowing that my power is coming from the sun,” Delurey said.

On the transportation front, the new law offers a $4,000 rebate for people buying electric cars, starting in July. The rebate falls to $2,000 in 2026 and $1,000 in 2028.

“This is cutting edge,” said Jessica Beverly, a clean energy advocate for the Illinois chapter of the Sierra Club.

In addition, Beverly said, there’s evidence that electric vehicle owners save money over time. A 2020 study by Consumer Reports found that owners often save $6,000 to $10,000 over the life of the vehicle, due to factors such as lower fuel and maintenance costs.

The energy law also increases funding for solar panels in low-income homes, said Delurey. Families making 80% or less of the median income in their area can qualify for reduced cost (and often free) rooftop solar panels and electricity. There’s money for about 1,000 low-income homes to go solar each year, Delurey said.

The new energy law also provides support for home energy efficiency projects, such as sealing windows or adding insulation.


Cardinals practice in LA before Wildcard game

Cardinals practice in LA before Wildcard game

St. Louis Cardinals shortstop Edmundo Sosa (left)Paul DeJong, Juan Yepez and Jose Rondon (right) play a field game involving quick hands as part of their warm-up before practice at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021. On Wednesday the Cardinals will face the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Wildcard game at Dodger Stadium. Photo by David Carson, dcarson@post-dispatch.com




David Carson



Cardinals practice in LA before Wildcard game

St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Shildt (left) and St. Louis Cardinals pitching coach Mike Maddux watch batting and fielding practice at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021. On Wednesday the Cardinals will face the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Wildcard game at Dodger Stadium. Photo by David Carson, dcarson@post-dispatch.com




David Carson



Cardinals practice in LA before Wildcard game

John Mozeliak, President of Baseball Operations for the St. Louis Cardinals, watches from the stands at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles as his team takes fielding and batting practice on Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021. On Wednesday the Cardinals will face the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Wildcard game at Dodger Stadium. Photo by David Carson, dcarson@post-dispatch.com




David Carson



Cardinals practice in LA before Wildcard game

St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Adam Wainwright (center) jokes around in the outfield with other members of the pitching staff during practice at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021. On Wednesday Wainwright will be the starting pitching for the Cardinals when they face the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Wildcard game at Dodger Stadium. Photo by David Carson, dcarson@post-dispatch.com




David Carson



Cardinals practice in LA before Wildcard game

St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Adam Wainwright (50) takes questions from the media during a press conference before practice at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021. On Wednesday the Cardinals will face the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Wildcard game at Dodger Stadium. Photo by David Carson, dcarson@post-dispatch.com




David Carson



Cardinals practice in LA before Wildcard game

John Mozeliak, President of Baseball Operations for the St. Louis Cardinals, shakes hands with Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman Albert Pujols during the Dodgers practice session on Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021. On Wednesday the Cardinals will face the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Wildcard game at Dodger Stadium. Photo by David Carson, dcarson@post-dispatch.com




David Carson



Cardinals practice in LA before Wildcard game

St. Louis Cardinals third baseman Tommy Edman (19) takes fielding practice at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021. On Wednesday the Cardinals will face the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Wildcard game at Dodger Stadium. Photo by David Carson, dcarson@post-dispatch.com




David Carson



Cardinals practice in LA before Wildcard game

St. Louis Cardinals left fielder Tyler O’Neill (27) takes fielding practice at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021. On Wednesday the Cardinals will face the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Wildcard game at Dodger Stadium. Photo by David Carson, dcarson@post-dispatch.com




David Carson



Cardinals practice in LA before Wildcard game

St. Louis Cardinals third baseman Nolan Arenado, (center) and other members of the Cardinals talk and laugh a little bit before the start of practice at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021. On Wednesday the Cardinals will face the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Wildcard game at Dodger Stadium. Photo by David Carson, dcarson@post-dispatch.com




David Carson



Cardinals practice in LA before Wildcard game

St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Miles Mikolas gets in some long toss in the outfield at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021. On Wednesday the Cardinals will face the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Wildcard game at Dodger Stadium. Photo by David Carson, dcarson@post-dispatch.com




David Carson



Cardinals practice in LA before Wildcard game

St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina (4) takes fielding practice at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021. On Wednesday the Cardinals will face the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Wildcard game at Dodger Stadium. Photo by David Carson, dcarson@post-dispatch.com




David Carson



Cardinals practice in LA before Wildcard game

St. Louis Cardinals third baseman Nolan Arenado takes fielding practice at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021. On Wednesday the Cardinals will face the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Wildcard game at Dodger Stadium. Photo by David Carson, dcarson@post-dispatch.com




David Carson



Cardinals practice in LA before Wildcard game

St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Jack Flaherty gets in some throws at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021. On Wednesday the Cardinals will face the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Wildcard game at Dodger Stadium. Photo by David Carson, dcarson@post-dispatch.com




David Carson



Cardinals practice in LA before Wildcard game

St. Louis Cardinals relief pitcher Alex Reyes does some long toss at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021. On Wednesday the Cardinals will face the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Wildcard game at Dodger Stadium. Photo by David Carson, dcarson@post-dispatch.com




David Carson



Cardinals practice in LA before Wildcard game

St. Louis Cardinals third baseman Nolan Arenado takes questions from the media before practice at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021. On Wednesday the Cardinals will face the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Wildcard game at Dodger Stadium. Photo by David Carson, dcarson@post-dispatch.com




David Carson



Cardinals practice in LA before Wildcard game

John Mozeliak, President of Baseball Operations for the St. Louis Cardinals, tosses a ball from hand to hand at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles as his team takes fielding and batting practice on Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021. On Wednesday the Cardinals will face the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Wildcard game at Dodger Stadium. Photo by David Carson, dcarson@post-dispatch.com




David Carson



Cardinals practice in LA before Wildcard game

St. Louis Cardinals third baseman Nolan Arenado (28) goes through some pre-practice warm-ups alone at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021.. On Wednesday the Cardinals will face the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Wildcard game at Dodger Stadium. Photo by David Carson, dcarson@post-dispatch.com




David Carson



Cardinals practice in LA before Wildcard game

St. Louis Cardinals third baseman Nolan Arenado walks off the field after some pre-practice warm-ups alone at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021.. On Wednesday the Cardinals will face the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Wildcard game at Dodger Stadium. Photo by David Carson, dcarson@post-dispatch.com




David Carson



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October 6, 2021 at 07:59PM

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