The cost of solar energy has decreased so much that it’s now cheaper than traditional energy sources. However, that doesn’t mean that everyone can just go out and buy solar equipment. In some states, like Illinois, there are government funds available to help with the financial burden of installing solar equipment.
The Illinois Clean Energy Future (ICEF) law was passed in 2015 and signed by Governor Rauner. The law provides various rebates and grants for solar energy installations. The goal of the law is to install 1 million solar-powered light bulbs by 2025.
Based on their solar income, residents are categorized into three groups: commercial, residential, and agricultural. The commercial and residential groups are eligible for higher rebates, while the agricultural group is eligible for lower rebates. In addition, certain property owners are eligible for additional grants when they install a solarium.
With the cost of solar-generated energy decreasing, more and more people are interested in installing solar equipment. So much so that there are sometimes delays in getting solar equipment installed because of limited inventory. But, with the right financing, you can be sure that your solar equipment will be serviced and maintained properly.
How Are Solar Grants and Rebates Structured?
The law sets a limit of 20 kilowatts per month that solar equipment can produce. Theoretically, this should be plenty of power for most homes. However, in practice, not all homes are the same and some may require more. To determine how much power you need, you will have to multiply the number of people by the number of hours they use the power generator. The monthly production limit is structured in a way that increases the incentive to generate more power.
The law also provides grants for solariums. A solarium is a building with integrated solar collection and thermal storage systems that are used to provide space heating and cooling as well as electrical power generation.
So, if you live in an area with more humid than dry air, you will need to consider investing in a water harvester. These systems collect and store water during the day, which is then used to cool or heat your home during the night. If you have more than one acre of land, you are eligible for an agricultural interest solar loan.
When Do You Need to Instal Your Solar Equipment to Be Eligible?
To be eligible for the solar grants and rebates, you will have to install your solar equipment between January 1 and December 31, 2020. However, you can still be considered for a grant if you have equipment installed before December 31, 2019. In some situations, you can even get a grant if you have installed the equipment but not yet generated any power.
If you already have solar equipment installed but have not yet started using it, you can qualify for additional rebates once you start generating power. The amount of the rebate increases with each subsequent payment of power generated. So, if you start generating power this month, you will receive a check for $1,000. If you generate 10 kilowatts per month, you will receive a check for $10,000.
Which Type Of Solar Equipment Are You Eligible For?
Depending on what type of solar equipment you have installed, you may be eligible for different types of grants and rebates. Let’s look at each piece of equipment separately.
- Solar Panels – These are the most basic and straightforward form of solar energy. They consist of single or multiple solar cells that convert sunlight directly into electricity. Single-axis solar panels track the sun’s movement while multiaxis solar panels can adjust their angle to follow the sun’s course.
- Solar Furnaces – These are large solar heating systems that use either thermal or photovoltaic energy to heat water or space heating systems. They can also be used to provide hot water for space-heating applications.
- Solar Water Heaters – These systems use a PV panel to convert solar energy into heat energy, which is stored in a holding tank. When needed, the hot water is drawn and used by you or your home.
- Solar Air Heaters – These systems are similar to solar water heaters, but instead of storing water, they store air. When air is heated, it is more useful than water because it can be pumped anywhere throughout your home or office building. So, if you are feeling hot, you can simply open up a vent and let the air escape!
- Power Conversion Systems – These systems integrate the entire power generation process, which includes solar, into one package. This makes them much easier to use and maintain. Depending on how many volts the inverter can handle, you may need a different size capacitor.
- Off-Grid Charging Stations – These are completely separate from the grid and provide power to whichever system they are attached to. In some situations, they can charge the batteries of connected devices or keep the power generators running smoothly.
- Battery Chargers – These systems charge and protect batteries from damage and provide power to connected devices when the electricity from the grid is unavailable. Depending on the capacity of the battery, you will need a different type of cable to connect it.
- Synchronizers – These regulate the power and provide advanced features like solar tracking so that the system always produces the most energy when needed.
Each of these items requires a little bit of research before you buy. Make sure that you are aware of all the terms and conditions associated with the grants and rebates before you start making any purchases. Also, if you would like to be sure that your solar equipment is maintained and ready to use, consider hiring a contractor or professional to help with this process. They can guide you through each step and help get your system up and running as soon as possible.