Renewable Energy Evolution is an Approved Vendor for Illinois Solar For All (ILSFA) program. The ILSFA’s goal is to advance access to solar energy, or “solar equity,” in lower-income communities (as defined by the Illinois Commerce Commision) with state incentives for transitioning to solar energy. There are several ILSFA subprograms, and REE’s primary focus is on the Non-Profit/Public Facility and Multi-Tenant ILSFA subprograms, which have yielded tangible growth for REE in this new market space. 

REE’s first ILSFA projects have resulted in the construction of Chicago’s largest solar carport for the non-profit Chicago Urban League (CUL); the largest ground-mounted solar array for a YMCA in Illinois, and the largest multi-tenant ground-mount solar array for low-income residents in Illinois, Pontiac Towers. The CUL and YMCA projects were financed by Sunlarge Industries and REE, who own the systems for 6 years prior to donating the solar arrays to CUL and YMCA. The Pontiac Towers project is financed and owned by C&E Solutions (C&E), who will provide monetary credits to the low-income tenants for the solar energy generated at the site. All of these projects are great examples of energy equity in practice, improving access to renewable energy and generating jobs in low-income areas.

As an Approved Vendor for ILSFA, REE is responsible for developing and navigating these projects through the ILSFA program and processing the paperwork in order to receive the incentives at project completion. REE is also responsible for monitoring and reporting on project energy production for the 15-year ILSFA program period. 

The Chicago Urban League Carport Project

As one of the very first affiliates of the National Urban League, the Chicago Urban League was formed in 1916. The National Urban League movement sought to address the needs of Black people involved in the Great Migration from the rural South to northern cities at the beginning of the 20th century. The League specifically focused on improving social and economic empowerment in Black communities and for Black individuals. 

Continuing that drive to improve social and economic access, the REE, CUL, and Sunlarge team outlined, designed, and built the largest solar carport in Chicago

The carport, combined with the solar rooftop installation, yields an impressive 213 kW capacity of solar generation. This capacity greatly contributes to the South Side’s access to clean and renewable energy sources. 

Canton Family YMCA Ground Mount Project

Founded in 1890, the Canton Family YMCA is an association of members committed to enhancing the well-being of youth, adults, seniors, and families through quality programs and facilities. Our team worked together to build the largest ground-mounted solar array for a YMCA in Illinois.  

The 210 kWdc array provides the YMCA with at least 75% of their energy from an on-site renewable energy source. The project also allows the YMCA to hedge against Ameren cost escalations that have increased by over 40% in 2022 in some parts of Illinois. 

Pontiac Towers Rooftop and Ground Mount Project

Pontiac Towers is both a home and community to the 111 residents that live in the low-income housing complex.  Under the Solar For All program, C&E and REE are implementing a plan to pass on solar incentives to the residents in the form of a 50% monetary credit from the solar energy generated that offsets the electrical energy to the complex.  

The 360 kWdc array allows low-income residents to participate in the ILSFA program without having a solar array directly connected to their individual metered accounts.  

Solar For All Takeaways

The construction of these solar energy projects is just one example of the fruits of a larger national movement. This movement’s goal is to promote and develop clean energy projects in areas that have been, and continue to be, affected historically by systemic environmental bias. REE is leading this charge, with over 80% of our projects being originated and managed within the Solar For All program. REE, along with our strategic partners, is continuing to develop and fund projects that support this vital effort.