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Rauner/GOP budget would sweep “every penny” from ratepayer-funded solar program

Monday, Jun 26, 2017

* Press release…

Even after both the Illinois House and Senate overwhelmingly approved resolutions supporting funding for job creating sections of last year’s Future Energy Jobs Act, a budget proposal by Senate Republicans - and endorsed by Governor Rauner - would sweep every penny of $185 million slated for the landmark Illinois Solar for All Program, which was created by the new law. The law, often called the biggest clean energy breakthrough in state history, won praise for its support of job training and expanding access to solar energy and solar jobs to economically disadvantaged communities.

“Illinois requires a budget that delivers what communities need, including human services, education, and economic and environmental justice. Taking away these funds, from communities most in need, prevents critical jobs, job training, and access to money-saving solar energy,” said Juliana Pino, Policy Director at the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization. “We must not hollow out the core promise of the Future Energy Jobs Act.”

The funds in the Renewable Energy Resources Fund (RERF) were raised from electric utility bills, not taxes, and are intended to be used for projects that will create jobs and expand access to solar energy.

“The innovative Illinois Solar for All program is a bright spot to accelerate clean energy, create jobs and improve environmental health in Illinois,” said Howard Learner, Executive Director of the Environmental Law & Policy Center. “The General Assembly should not divert the negotiated renewable energy funds that are vital to keep Illinois competitive in growing our clean energy economy.”

The Illinois Power Agency is in the process of implementing the Illinois Solar For All Program and has worked closely with stakeholders to ensure the program benefits communities across the state, and that the funds are maximized for the greatest job-creating impact.

“There is incredible statewide excitement about the Solar for All Program,” said Lesley McCain, Executive Director of the Illinois Solar Energy Association. “We’ll fight to make sure the money is there and the program is a success.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

24 Comments
  1. - Chicagonk - Monday, Jun 26, 17 @ 2:26 pm:

    I do not know much about this program, but is there a reason this focused on solar and not wind?


  2. - Captain Ed Smith - Monday, Jun 26, 17 @ 2:29 pm:

    Should we be surprised. GOP and Rauner also want to sweep LIHEAP funds which go to the poorest of the poor.


  3. - Last Bull Moose - Monday, Jun 26, 17 @ 2:31 pm:

    Would like to hear from those who voted for the law setting up the RERF. This sounds like an effort to break promises central to passing the law. Is it?


  4. - anonime - Monday, Jun 26, 17 @ 2:44 pm:

    But, it was OK for all the years to take money that should have gone to pensions to keep taxes artificially low? Now they want to take away the pensions because they cost too much. That might not have been the case if the money to properly fund them would not have been used for other programs.


  5. - Liberty - Monday, Jun 26, 17 @ 2:49 pm:

    It is a bright spot in the budget.


  6. - VanillaMan - Monday, Jun 26, 17 @ 2:51 pm:

    After MC Hammer filed bankruptsy, he had to give up his solar powered stuff too.


  7. - phocion - Monday, Jun 26, 17 @ 3:01 pm:

    A boondoggle that won’t be funded. Good. The fiscally responsible elected officials in Springfield are commended by the silent majority.


  8. - Anon - Monday, Jun 26, 17 @ 3:05 pm:

    I have refrained from commenting on so many of the recent posts because I have found my views best expressed in expletives.

    This one was so over the top that I felt I needed to share that I am refraining from expletives.

    >It is a bright spot in the budget.

    Comment of the day.

    >but is there a reason this focused on solar and not wind?

    If one looks at a map of wind patterns there are big geographic regions where wind isn’t really an option and there’s a massive population center that has a significant power demand that’s not a good candidate for wind either.

    Iowa we aint. Texas we really aint.


  9. - JohnnyPyleDriver - Monday, Jun 26, 17 @ 3:10 pm:

    a lot of this money is to help put solar on rooftops. There is no viable equivalence when it comes to wind.


  10. - Shemp - Monday, Jun 26, 17 @ 3:11 pm:

    Yes, it is shady. So have been most other sweeps over the last several years. At some point, there just isn’t the money to sustain the spending. Something has to give. Bellyaching over this cut while medical, and social service programs that serve kids and disabled is disingenuous at best in my book.


  11. - Anonymous - Monday, Jun 26, 17 @ 3:13 pm:

    Governor has to admit, loudly and in public, that new revenue is a need, not a want.


  12. - jimbo - Monday, Jun 26, 17 @ 3:19 pm:

    So I guess there is no need to go to this event? Please join us on Tuesday June 27th from 5:30-7:00 PM for this FREE informational “Go Solar Springfield” event being held at Lincoln Land Community College.


  13. - JohnnyPyleDriver - Monday, Jun 26, 17 @ 3:22 pm:

    ==So I guess there is no need to go to this event? Please join us on Tuesday June 27th from 5:30-7:00 PM for this FREE informational “Go Solar Springfield” event being held at Lincoln Land Community College.==

    This appears to be unrelated to the topic. Go Solar Springfield looks like a bulk purchase program while Illinois Solar for All is a subsidy program for low income solar development. And these cuts haven’t even happened yet


  14. - City Zen - Monday, Jun 26, 17 @ 3:33 pm:

    ==But, it was OK for all the years to take money that should have gone to pensions to keep taxes artificially low? That might not have been the case if the money to properly fund them would not have been used for other programs.==

    Programs such as employee raises and health benefits?


  15. - Demoralized - Monday, Jun 26, 17 @ 4:21 pm:

    ==A boondoggle that won’t be funded. Good. ==

    I’m not sure I consider it “good” to collect money for a specific purpose and then just take it for whatever you want to use it for. Not very fiscally responsible to me.


  16. - JohnnyPyleDriver - Monday, Jun 26, 17 @ 4:26 pm:

    somehow i doubt we can get the money back from the nukes that were part of this deal


  17. - Anonymous - Monday, Jun 26, 17 @ 4:55 pm:

    No sympathy. The bill foisted higher rates on Illinoisans and businesses to artificially float an industry that cannot make it on its own.


  18. - Biker - Monday, Jun 26, 17 @ 5:58 pm:

    Nope.


  19. - Liberty - Monday, Jun 26, 17 @ 5:59 pm:

    Anon: where’s your sense of humor?

    ==This one was so over the top that I felt I needed to share that I am refraining from expletives.

    >It is a bright spot in the budget.


  20. - Liberty - Monday, Jun 26, 17 @ 6:03 pm:

    Can’t we all get along? I like:

    - Shemp - Monday, Jun 26, 17 @ 3:11 pm:

    Yes, it is shady.


  21. - Old and In the Way - Monday, Jun 26, 17 @ 6:08 pm:

    - Anonymous - Monday, Jun 26, 17 @ 4:55 pm:

    No sympathy. The bill foisted higher rates on Illinoisans and businesses to artificially float an industry that cannot make it on its own.

    Oh, you mean like nuclear and coal……… both heavily subsidized. BTW enjoy the rate increases the Gov already is sending your way! Without solar or wind as an option or competitor we will just keep subsidizing the nukes and coal.


  22. - DuPage Bard - Monday, Jun 26, 17 @ 6:43 pm:

    Was this monumental bill part of the Comed bailout that Sierra Club and others came on board with because it increased the investment in Solar and Wind production?
    If so….oops


  23. - wordslinger - Monday, Jun 26, 17 @ 6:50 pm:

    Good thing the tronclodytes told us that Rauner won’t go for those budget gimmicks.

    I kid. Sweeps are the original budget gimmick, one-time revenue for ongoing expenses.


  24. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Jun 27, 17 @ 2:08 am:

    “- DuPage Bard - Monday, Jun 26, 17 @ 6:43 pm:

    Was this monumental bill part of the Comed bailout that Sierra Club and others came on board with because it increased the investment in Solar and Wind production?
    If so….oops?

    Yup - Rauner got taken to the cleaners on this. So did many of the greens. No surprise that the guy who brought you the bailout and the rate increases to come is double crossing the gullible greens.


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