IL's Adjustable Block Program Meets Staggering Interest

The Illinois Adjustable Block Program recently began accepting project applications, launching what has the potential to be a massive build out of distributed generation and community solar projects bolstered by the program’s Renewable Energy Credit (REC) incentives.

This development marks an exciting moment for the Future Energy Jobs Act (FEJA) and for Illinois’ clean energy future. The legislation’s components are advancing past planning processes and becoming functioning programs that will soon create actual solar arrays and provide tangible economic benefits to communities throughout the state.

The “block” in Adjustable Block Program refers to a set amount of generation capacity (e.g., 22 megawatts). Each block is associated with a pre-determined REC price (e.g., $80 per REC). Each REC represents the environmental attributes of 1 megawatt hour of electricity. As the program fills up with projects and capacity blocks become fully accounted for (i.e., once those first 22 megawatts are filled), subsequent projects enter into the next block at the next (and slightly lower) REC compensation level.

Available capacity under the Adjustable Block Program is divided across three distinct categories: small distributed generation systems up to 10 kW, large distributed generation systems up to 2 MW, and community solar projects. Total capacity across all segments will hit its initial ceiling at roughly 500 megawatts.

Developers are moving fast to take advantage of incentives and demonstrating broad interest in participating in the program. Approved Vendors have submitted a total of 931 applications for potential community solar projects, representing roughly 1.8 gigawatts of capacity. Approved Vendors have also submitted a total of 2,246 applications for distributed generation projects, representing an additional 238 megawatts of capacity. While the program will be unable to accommodate every project for which an application was submitted, these staggering numbers demonstrate an overwhelming appetite for renewable energy. 

IPA is maintaining an online dashboard to track the number and capacity of project applications. The dashboard, which is updated daily, allows stakeholders to see just how much interest there is in developing renewable energy within Illinois. The dashboard is hosted on the Adjustable Block Program’s website.

Implementation of the Illinois Solar for All Program, which builds off of the Adjustable Block Program while including more robust requirements and incentives for low-income and environmental justice community participation, is also advancing steadily. Community solar, in the context of both the Adjustable Block Program and the Solar for All program, gets to the heart of what FEJA is all about - not just rapidly expanding the development of clean energy within the state, but also expanding and diversifying the communities that can participate and benefit.

The complete Adjustable Block Program Guidebook, which lays out all major components of the program’s design, is also available.

​Teaser Image Courtesy of Zak Zak, CC BY 2.0.