Blog Post - Illinois Environmental Council
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The Illinois Environmental Council Education Fund engages in education and outreach and provides a forum for environmentalists. The Illinois Environmental Council serves as the environmental communitys eyes, ears and voice in Springfield. The two organizations - collectively known as IEC - work together to ensure a more healthful environment for Illinois residents.
What Happened to Illinois' Solar Energy Rebate Funds?
In a last minute budget maneuver by the Illinois General Assembly, $3.7 million was re-appropriated from the Renewable Energy Resources Trust Fund to the Illinois Green Economy Network (IGEN). This is over 75% of the money in this fund. This transfer of money from RERTF has already raised alarm in the solar business community, and undermined their ability to plan for a sustainable business future. Some businesses have already reduced employee hours or instituted lay-offs.
The RERTF assisted Illinois small businesses in their ability to hire and maintain local workforces. This fund provided rebates to consumers wishing to put renewable energy devices on their property. Over the last couple of years the program has been massively oversubscribed, oftentimes selling out within a day or two. The rebate provided an incentive for consumers, opening the market to families who may not have otherwise afforded renewable energy. This in turn provided jobs for Illinois residents. Solar installation is done by a local workforce; the money used to pay these workers stays in State.
The RERTF money is collected from ratepayers and exists to address ratepayer issues. The statute authorizing the RERF states that the money should be used “to provide grants, loans, and other incentives to foster investment in and the development and use of renewable energy resources….”. IGEN’s mission is to raise the awareness of sustainability throughout the State and train workers for sustainable careers. This newly trained workforce will have limited options in Illinois as renewable energy businesses will not be hiring.
Take action to protect this money from being reappropriated in the future and support the Illinois Solar Energy Association and their work promoting solare energy in Illinois.