The number of home solar panel installations in Illinois has plummeted as state consumer incentives dried up amid a standoff in Springfield that’s seen lawmakers unable to agree on major energy legislation.
After a state incentive program ran out of money late last year, just 313 small rooftop solar projects were completed statewide in the three-month period ending June 30, compared with 2,908 a year earlier, Illinois Power Agency records show. Those numbers account for most of the rooftop solar projects done in Illinois.
The state program helped reduce the cost of adding solar to a home by thousands of dollars.
The funding problems also have idled hundreds of workers, hurting a fledgling, once fast-growing industry.
Unless legislators can send a fix to Gov. J.B. Pritzker by the end of the month, solar business owners warn things could get much worse.
“The story here is whether those Illinois legislators are going to choose the future or, frankly, choose the past,” says Josh Lutton, president of Certasun, a Buffalo Grove solar panel installer.
[Dan Gearino and Brett Chase]