Northern Illinois Sees a Surge in Rooftop Solar Adoption
CHICAGO, October 09, 2023 – ComEd, the electric utility serving northern Illinois, is shedding light on the remarkable surge in rooftop solar adoption in the region. The company has announced a significant milestone, with over 51,000 Distributed Energy Resources (DER) now seamlessly integrated into its smart electric grid, as of September. Among these resources, more than 49,000 are residential rooftop solar systems coupled with energy storage facilities. This impressive figure marks a substantial increase from a mere 837 rooftop solar systems connected to the ComEd grid in 2016, illustrating an astounding annual growth rate of 53%.
Throughout the current year, ComEd has experienced an unprecedented influx of applications, receiving nearly 15,000 requests for connecting solar resources to its grid. Impressively, nearly 11,000 of these systems have been successfully completed as of September. This surge in adoption underscores the profound impact of climate legislation in Illinois and the growing consumer interest in managing energy costs while reducing their carbon footprint through solar energy.
Scott Vogt, Vice President of Strategy and Energy Policy at ComEd, emphasized the pivotal role of legislative support, stating, “The clean energy transition is well underway, and ComEd is making the necessary investments to ensure continued reliability as additional clean energy resources like solar panels come onto our system.”
Notably, this solar adoption trend extends beyond residential properties, as over 1,300 commercial and industrial customers have also connected solar systems to the ComEd grid, reflecting an annual growth rate of 20%. Moreover, the total capacity of DER connected to the system exceeds 900 megawatts (MW). ComEd anticipates this figure to climb to over 1,900 MW by 2025 and exceed 3,600 MW by 2030, an amount equivalent to powering approximately 120,000 U.S. homes for a year.
Recognizing that not all customers have suitable roofs for solar panels or may reside in multi-family dwellings, ComEd has embraced community solar as an alternative solution. Community solar participants subscribe to sizable solar energy projects operated by independent developers, receiving credits on their monthly ComEd bills for their share of the electricity generated. The growth in this sector has been impressive, with 87 projects currently operational in the ComEd region, resulting in an 18% annual growth rate. By the end of the year, ComEd aims to have approximately 100 community solar projects serving 25,000 customers on its system.
ComEd has also introduced enhancements to its rooftop solar calculator to facilitate customer decision-making. This tool offers insights into costs, benefits, and savings associated with solar adoption and provides information about a rebate program available to residential customers through the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (CEJA). The rebate offers $300 per kilowatt for eligible distributed generation facilities like rooftop solar and $300 per kilowatt-hour for associated energy storage devices. Customers can assess their potential payback and compare it with and without the rebate, aiding them in understanding the impact on their estimated payback period. ComEd has also introduced a community solar calculator, providing estimated savings based on a customer’s current energy usage.
ComEd’s ongoing commitment to fostering solar adoption, coupled with legislative support and innovative tools, is paving the way for a brighter, cleaner energy future in northern Illinois.