Illinois renewable energy and energy efficiency

Programs for renewable energy and energy efficiency exist across the state of Illinois across a range of technology types and are available for utility-scale, commercial, and residential customers. Illinois is currently a leader in renewable energy, ranking second in the Midwest for renewable power capacity and fourth in the United States for wind power capacity.1

A history of renewable energy and energy efficiency in Illinois

Illinois has been a leader in renewable energy and energy efficiency since 1970, when its General Assembly became the first state legislature in the United States to create a comprehensive Environmental Protection Act, which was signed into law by Governor Richard Ogilvie and became effective on July 1.

The Energy Efficient Commercial Building Act was passed in 2004 and was implemented in 2006. The act was based on the International Energy Conservation Code of 2000. In 2009, Illinois passed an act which created a code for residential buildings as well, effective 2010.

In December 2016, Illinois signed into law the Future Energy Jobs Act (FEJA). This act will place more than $750 million worth of investment in low-income areas, prioritizing solar development for all Illinoisans. This act also created a community solar program that allows neighborhoods in Illinois to enjoy the benefits of solar energy even if all its constituent residents cannot afford to put solar panels on their houses.

Illinois's Renewable Portfolio Standard

Illinois's Renewable Portfolio Standard, originally created in 2007 by the Illinois Power Agency Act and later amended in 2016, stipulates that 25% of the state's energy should come from renewable sources by 2025, with 75% of that coming from wind and 6% from solar.2 Eligible technologies include wind, solar PV, solar thermal, untreated and unadulterated organic waste biomass, trees and tree waste, dedicated crops grown for energy production, biodiesel, in-state landfill gas, hydropower that does not involve construction or expansion of dams, or “other such alternative sources of environmentally preferable energy” which could include (among others) waste heat from industrial processes and anaerobic digestion.

Important renewable energy organizations in Illinois

One important renewable energy organization in Illinois is the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC). Among other things, the ICC regulates the state's utilities, ensuring that they work in the best interest of all relevant stakeholders. The ICC is made up of a board of five members who are all appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate for five-year terms. One of these members is designated Chairman by the Governor.

Another important renewable energy organization active in the state of Illinois is the Illinois Environmental Council (IEC). According to IEC's website, the organization “serves as the environmental community's eyes, ears, and voice in Springfield.” Originally founded in 1975, the IEC has grown to represent 80 different organizations throughout Illinois.

Another important renewable energy organization in the state is the Illinois Power Agency (IPA). The IPA was established by the Illinois Power Agency Act in 2007. Since its inception, the IPA has worked to develop plans for the safe and reliable procurement of electricity, conduct competitive processes for energy procurement, develop a procurement plan for renewable resources in the long term, and more.

Another important organization in furthering renewable energy and energy efficiency in Illinois is the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO), founded in 2001. MISO is one of the largest ISOs in the world, with over $29 billion in gross market energy transactions annually. MISO operates across fifteen US states and the Manitoba province in Canada. MISO operates in the majority of Illinois. The part of Illinois not covered by MISO is covered by PJM. MISO's cornerstones are customer service, effective communication, and operational excellence. MISO is led by an independent Board of Directors who serve three-year terms and are elected by the members of the organization. Members of the Board of Directors are also required to meet certain qualifications designed to ensure that MISO is led by capable individuals.

Another important organization in Illinois is the Citizens Utility Board (CUB), originally created in 1983 by the Illinois General Assembly. CUB represents the interests of residential consumers across the State of Illinois and provides those consumers with information and assistance. Officers serve as volunteers and are elected by CUB members in each of the districts.

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) is another important energy organization in the state. This organization was created along with the Environmental Protection Act in 1970. Since then, the IEPA has worked to safeguard Illinois's natural resources from pollution and provide a clean and healthy environment for Illinoisans.

Utilities within the state also play a significant role in the advancement of renewable energy and energy efficiency. The four major utilities in the state are Mt. Carmel Public Utility Company, MidAmerican Energy Company, Ameren Illinois, and Commonwealth Edison Company.

How to go solar in Illinois

You can install solar panels on your property and benefit directly from solar energy in Illinois. The best way to go solar is to compare multiple quotes - you can join the EnergySage Marketplace for free to begin comparing your options from installation companies near you. Want to start with a little more research? Check out average prices for solar in Illinois, or read through reviews of the best local solar installers in Illinois.


  1. EIA. “Illinois State Profile and Energy Estimates.” Accessed October 28, 2020.
  2. DSIRE. “Renewable Portfolio Standard.” Accessed October 28, 2020.

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