The Illinois General Assembly recently passed two bills supporting growth of the solar industry in the state. The Solar Ramp Up bill (HB 6202) sets annual targets for the amount of solar power used in the state between 2012 and 2015. The Homeowners’ Solar Rights Act (HB 5429) clarifies homeowners’ rights.

In 2007, Illinois passed a renewable energy standard that requires 25 percent of the state’s electricity be generated from renewable sources by 2025, with at least six percent of the state’s renewable energy coming from solar power by 2015. However, that law did not address how state utilities should meet that goal. SB 6202 establishes specific targets in relation to these broader goals and is expected to generate more than 5,000 solar panel installation, manufacturing, and maintenance jobs.

“By removing barriers to solar power developers, these measures will create approximately 5,000 new jobs between now and 2015,” says assistant senate majority leader Don Harmon, a chief sponsor of HB 6202 in the Illinois senate. SB 6202 also is supported by advocates including the Environmental Law & Policy Center, Sierra Club, the state’s utilities and retail electric suppliers, the Illinois attorney general’s office, the city of Chicago, the AFL-CIO, and the Illinois Competitive Energy Association.

In related news, the General Assembly also passed the Homeowners’ Solar Rights Act (HB 5429), which clarifies the rights of homeowners living in homeowners or condominium associations to put solar panels on their property, as well as outlines a process for doing so.