Illinois Got $156 Million From the Federal Government to Boost Solar Energy

Illinois Got $156 Million From the Federal Government to Boost Solar Energy

PEORIA – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is giving Illinois $156 million in grants to help the state use more solar energy.

With this money, existing solar projects will be able to reach more low-income households and grow.

The state legislature, which Democrats control, and Gov. JB Pritzker are pushing for the use of clean energy. This is part of the White House’s $7 billion in solar funds given to states across the country.

Setting a goal for 100% clean energy by 2050 is new for Illinois, the first state in the Midwest to do so.

Benjamin Tiger, founder of Solar Panther in Peoria Heights, said, “In the past, you needed a pretty good credit score or a lot of money to buy solar. This funding will make it possible for lower-income families to add solar to their homes.”

Electric rates have gone up 30% or more since 2020, and in some places, they’ve gone up even more. “So, people’s power bills are going up, and this bill will make power cheaper for everyone,” Tiger said.

IPA, or the Illinois Power Agency, made an equity accountability system last year so that more contractors and workers could be used in solar projects.

The president and owner of LiveWire Construction, LiveWire Energy, and BlackRock Construction in Calumet Park, Illinois, Shon Harris, said, “This is the first step to getting Black and Brown people into the energy sector to work and do business.” Harris said this in response to the need to include Black and Brown people who are often left out of the energy sector.

Harris spoke this week at an event at Illinois Central College that was meant to teach. He says that the number of people taking part in solar training classes is now 10% of what they could be. He thinks that by 2030, this extra money could make a big difference.

Harris: “It’s a huge movement, and the best thing about it is that it’s for our climate and to make our world a better place to live.”

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