Solstice Power Technologies has kicked off subscriber enrollment on three low-to-moderate income (LMI) focused projects in Illinois developed by Reactivate, a joint venture between Invenergy and Lafayette Square. These projects provide impactful benefits to income-qualified and energy transition communities and will deliver enough renewable energy to power an estimated 1,200 homes, providing customers a total projected utility bill savings of $12 million over 20 years.
This program is specifically for any income-eligible Illinois resident within Ameren and ComEd territory. To qualify, a household must verify as 80% or less of the Area Median Income (AMI). The AMI varies by household size and geography. Prospective enrollees can check if their household meets the AMI qualifications on Solstice’s website through the “See If You Qualify” prequalification form.
Distributed solar energy and storage development has increased dramatically in the United States, protecting many homeowners from rising utility rates. That growth is expected to continue in the coming years. However, 77% of Americans still are unable to participate in rooftop solar. This includes renters and households who may not qualify due to credit scores, incomes below minimum thresholds, unsuitable rooftops, or inadequate sun exposure. Community solar bridges that gap, providing the opportunity for more households to access local renewable energy with monthly savings on their electricity bill.
Solstice and Reactivate are among the first to be working within the statewide program Illinois Solar for All (ILSFA) to spread the benefits of low-cost, renewable energy to income-eligible Illinois residents, with Solstice managing the subscriptions of the large majority of projects underway.
“During this time of high inflation and high energy costs, the existing disparity in energy burden to low-to-moderate income households has only increased. By working with Solstice, we will provide economic relief to Illinois households, which include some families deciding between the expense of their utility bill and feeding their family,” said Jordan Leventhal, SVP of product for Reactivate. “The cost savings from subscribing to our projects could be a lifeline for those families.”
The subscription offering from Solstice and Reactivate will provide income-eligible residents with one of the deepest community solar discounts available plus an enrollment bonus from Solstice. Income-eligible Solstice subscribers will benefit from monthly savings of up to 50% off the supply portion of their electric bill and enjoy supporting renewable energy produced locally.
“Our grassroots organization partners relay countless accounts of how high electricity costs burden their under-resourced communities. Participating in the Illinois Solar for All program lets us revise that narrative and bring equity to the forefront of our work, and we’re honored to partner with Reactivate in getting these savings into deserving hands,” said Sarah Gyurina, partnerships development associate at Solstice.
Solstice and Reactivate are dedicated not only to bringing more LMI residents access to renewable energy through the ILSFA program, but to the betterment of communities through local partnerships and enrollment incentives.
Once a potential enrollee verifies their income, Solstice and ILSFA will validate the information provided. If an address is not in a qualified census tract, prospective enrollees may show another form of documentation to prequalify, such as participation in SNAP, LIHEAP, IHWAP, Medicaid, HUD Project-Based Vouchers, HUD Project-Based Rental Assistance, Income Eligible Multifamily Energy Efficiency, Illinois Affordable Housing Act, or other Tax-Subsidized multifamily programs.
The Cool Cities Committee was a key advocate for local renewable energy projects and is a local Solstice enrollment partner.
“As a member of the Cool Cities Committee and a long-time Granite City, Illinois, council member, I strongly urge everyone to check out the Illinois Solar for All community solar program offered through Solstice,” said Granite City Councilmember Dan McDowell. “It is pretty easy to see if you qualify so you can save money and do a good thing all at the same time. With electric bills going up, this program can be a big help. It’s a win-win for Illinois homeowners and renters too.”
In addition to financial benefits for LMI and energy transition ratepayers, the Reactivate projects will make important environmental contributions to the State of Illinois’ energy transition and climate priorities. Combined, the three community solar projects in development by Reactivate will generate nearly 13 million kWh of electricity per year.
— Solar Builder magazine