Frequently Asked Questions

Approved Vendors

Can I self-install my system?

A system applying for the Adjustable Block Program can only be self-installed if the individual installing the system is a Qualified Person which is defined under 83 Ill. Adm. Code § 468.20 as:

“Qualified person” means a person who performs installations on behalf of the certificate holder and who has either satisfactorily completed at least five installations of a specific distributed generation technology or has completed at least one of the following programs requiring lab or field work and received a certification of satisfactory completion: an apprenticeship as a journeyman electrician from a DOL registered electrical apprenticeship and training program; a North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) distributed generation technology certification program; an Underwriters Laboratories (UL) distributed generation technology certification program; an Electronics Technicians Association (ETA) distributed generation technology certification program; or an Associate in Applied Science degree from an Illinois Community College Board approved community college program in solar generation technology.

Can I switch Approved Vendors after my distributed generation project on my home or building is accepted to the Adjustable Block Program?

Another Approved Vendor could obtain the rights to your project’s Adjustable Block Program REC contract, but only with the consent of your original Approved Vendor.  See Section 6.7 of the Approved Plan.

Do Approved Vendors need an account in PJM-GATS and/or M-RETS?

Proof of an account in PJM-GATS or M-RETS is required to become an Approved Vendor. This requirement is outlined in Section 6.9 of the Approved Plan.

In PJM-GATS an Approved Vendor can have a generator account (if they have a generator to register) or an aggregator/broker account (does not require a generator). Click here to view the various account types offered by PJM-GATS and the fees associated with those account types.
In M-RETS an Approved Vendor can have a General Subscription, a Project Subscription, a Small Generator Project Subscription, or a Micro Gen Project Subscription (only eligible for one 100 kW batch of generators). Click here to view the various account types offered by M-RETS and the fees associated with those account types.
Do Approved Vendors need to be Distributed Generation Installer certified?

No. The Distributed Generation Installer certification is required by all firms performing actual distributed generation installations, and as such an Approved Vendor may also be a Distributed Generation Installer. However, any entity that meets the Approved Vendor requirements can become an Approved Vendor and doesn’t necessarily need to be involved in the installation process at all, in which case they would not need to be certified as a Distributed Generation Installer.

Do solar installers need to be certified in Illinois?

Yes, there are two requirements for distributed generation installation in Illinois. The first is a company level requirement that Distributed Generation Installers be certified by the Illinois Corporation Commission (ICC). Details of this requirement can be found at the ICC’s Distributed Generation Installer page. A list of Certified Distributed Generation Installers can be found here. Any questions about this requirement should be directed to the ICC which oversees this program.

Additionally, installation of a photovoltaic system, if it will seek a REC contract under the Adjustable Block Program, must be done by a Qualified Person as defined under 83 Ill. Adm. Code § 468.20, which covers the qualifications required of the individuals who are actually installing the system.

What is required to become an Approved Vendor?

The Program Administrator will be publishing a draft set of Approved Vendor requirements and marketing material standard disclosure requirements for stakeholder comments as well as holding a stakeholder meeting for feedback on the draft. The schedule for this process will be posted in the Updates section and on the home page of this site. The IPA expects to open Approved Vendor registrations on November 1, 2018.

Community Solar

How do I find a community solar project to participate in?

A list of approved community solar projects, with contact information, will be found here once projects are approved for participation in the Adjustable Block Program.  Please keep in mind that projects that are in development and have not yet applied to and been approved by the Adjustable Block Program will not appear here. Also keep in mind that some of the projects here may already be fully subscribed. This list will be populated once the program launches.

What is required to sell subscriptions in a community solar project?

The Program Administrator will be publishing a draft set of community solar marketing material standard disclosures and requirements for stakeholder comments as well as holding a stakeholder meeting for feedback on this draft. The schedule for this process will be posted in the Updates section of this site as well as on the home page.

Existing Solar Generator (systems built & energized after 2017-06-01)

Can I enter my home/small business system into the program myself?

All applications will have to be entered by an Approved Vendor. Larger (non-residential) systems of at least 100 kW can apply as a Single Project Approved Vendor.

For small systems that have already been built (and energized after June 1, 2017), if your installer does not become an Approved Vendor, or work with an Approved Vendor, you will need to choose an Approved Vendor from the Approved Vendor list to apply on your behalf once the program opens for project applications.  Each Approved Vendor may offer you different terms and you should choose carefully.

Systems will have to comply with all Program terms and conditions, which may require retroactive adjustments to the system or agreements with the installer.  Systems in the Adjustable Block Program must have been installed by an individual who is a “Qualified Person” as defined in Section 16-128A of the Illinois Public Utilities Act and Title 83, Part 468 of the Illinois Administrative Code.

General Questions

After my distributed generation project has an approved contract under the Adjustable Block Program, can I move the panels to a different building?

No.  The project approval is location-specific.

Are system nameplate sizes AC or DC?

The system sizes listed in the Plan are all AC system sizes based on the size of the inverter.

Can I co-locate multiple distributed generation projects on one parcel of land or adjacent parcels if the aggregate size is over 2,000 kW?

Each unique utility customer may have one distributed generation project of up to 2,000 kW in the Adjustable Block Program.  Two or more utility customers that are affiliated and physically adjacent could each have a distributed generation project of up to 2,000 kW.

Do I need a revenue grade meter or can I just use my inverter reading?

Systems up to 10kW in size are able to use either a meter that is accurate to +/-5% or an inverter specified by the manufacturer to be accurate to +/‐5% that is UL-certified and includes a digital or web-based output display.

Systems over 10 kW and less than 25 kW in size registered with GATS must utilize a meter that meets ANSI C.12 standards. Meters that are refurbished (and certified by the meter supplier) are allowed.

Systems over 25 kW registered in GATS must utilize a new meter that meets ANSI C.12 standards.

All systems registered in M-RETS must utilize an ANSI C.12 certified revenue quality meter.

Note: System sizes are AC nameplate capacity. Therefore a system with a 10kW inverter, for example, is considered a 10kW system regardless of DC nameplate capacity of the system.

 

How is the REC obligation calculated for a specific project?

This topic is fully addressed in section 6.14.5 of the Approved Plan. When a project is approved for the Adjustable Block Program, a 15-year REC obligation will be calculated for that project. Approved Vendors will have the option to use either a standard capacity factor or an alternative capacity factor (based on an estimated production analysis from PV Watts or an equivalent tool) to determine the REC obligation for a project. We have not yet determined which equivalent tools will be approved for use under the program. REC obligation calculation methods will be discussed with stakeholders when we are finalizing the program rules. We anticipate this stakeholder process to take place sometime in November 2018.

How long do I have to energize my system after acceptance to the Adjustable Block Program?

Distributed generation projects will be given one year to be developed and energized. Community solar projects will be given 18 months to be developed, energized, and demonstrate that they have sufficient subscribers. Extensions may be granted under certain circumstances, as described in more detail in Section 6.15.2 of the Approved Plan.

I live in a rural electric cooperative, municipal electric utility, or the Mt. Carmel Public Utility Company territory. Will I be eligible to participate in the Adjustable Block Program?

The Illinois Power Agency’s Long-Term Renewable Resources Procurement Plan proposed allowing participation in the Adjustable Block Program (for REC incentive payments) by community solar and photovoltaic distributed generation projects located in the service territories of rural electric cooperatives, municipal electric utilities, and Mt. Carmel Public Utility Company. In December, that proposal (along with the Long-Term Plan itself) was presented to the Illinois Commerce Commission for approval, and the eligibility of these projects was affirmed by the Illinois Commerce Commission in its Administrative Order issued on April 3, 2018 in ICC Docket No. 17-0838.

In mid-June, Commonwealth Edison Company filed a petition seeking review of that determination (i.e., an appeal) with the state’s Second District Appellate Court, case number 2-18-0540. As the state appellate court has not granted (or been presented with a request for) a stay or other injunctive relief, the Commission’s decision allowing such projects to participate governs program implementation. As a consequence, barring unanticipated future judicial or legislative action, projects in the service territories of rural electric cooperatives, municipal electric utilities, and Mt. Carmel Public Utility Company, will be allowed to receive REC delivery contracts under the Adjustable Block Program upon the program’s opening for accepting project applications.

While this ongoing uncertainty is unfortunate, we will provide additional details as they become available. Neither the IPA nor its Program Administrator can speculate on the likelihood of the Commission’s decision being overturned on appeal, the timeline for any such determination, or whether an appellate court’s determination would impact the contract or participation status of systems already energized or those with Adjustable Block Program contracts already in place. We will provide additional details on this issue as they become available in the updates section at www.IllinoisABP.com, which you can subscribe to by entering your email address in the “Email Updates” section at the bottom of the home page.

What are the REC prices being offered through the Adjustable Block Program?

The final REC prices can be found in section 6.4 of the Approved Plan.

What is required for a project to apply for Block 1?

The general project requirements can be found in section 6.12 of the Approved Plan. However, the full list of requirements are currently being developed by the Program Administrator and will be subject to a stakeholder process to collect feedback on the list of requirements. We anticipate this stakeholder process will take place in November 2018.

When can I apply for the program?

At this time we plan to begin accepting Approved Vendor applications on November 1, 2018. We subsequently plan to open Block 1 for applications on January 15, 2019.