* 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.