Illinois Net Metering Law Helps Grow Residential and Small Business Solar Energy Systems
Thursday, July 19, 2012
CHICAGO–Yesterday, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed into law a net metering standard (SB3811) that will protect the rights of residential and small commercial customers who generate renewable energy to sell excess power back to an electricity provider.
Net metering is a mechanism for small-scale renewable energy systems – for example, solar panels on the roof of a business – to sell the power they generate back to the public power grid in exchange for a credit from the utility. Simply put, net metering allows customers to run their electric meter backward.
“The net metering law Governor Quinn signed leads the way to more solar energy development in Illinois,” said Howard Learner, Executive Director of the Environmental Law & Policy Center (ELPC). “It provides a common-sense, economic incentive for businesses and homeowners to invest in solar and small-scale wind power systems.”
The net metering standard was originally passed in 2007. That law provided credits based on the size of the energy system – systems up to 40 kilowatts received a 1:1 credit, and systems between 40 kilowatts and 2 megawatts received a lesser credit. Last year, that law was amended so that credits were awarded not by the size of the system, but by the type of the customer, which put residential and small commercial customers at risk of losing net metering benefits. This new legislation protects those benefits.