Wed. Oct 4th, 2023
    Illinois Solar For All Program Launches Pilot in West Garfield Park Community

    Illinois Solar For All, a program aimed at assisting lower-income households in accessing solar power, has selected West Garfield Park as the pilot site for its Bright Neighborhoods program. The program aims to simplify the process for homeowners by providing more direct support and partnering with a pre-selected vendor. If successful, the pilot program will expand to other neighborhoods.

    In order to qualify for the Solar For All program, homeowners must reside in single-family homes or 2- to 4-flat buildings with incomes up to 80% of the median income for the Chicagoland region. This income threshold can range from $61,800 to $102,400 per year, depending on the size of the household. Landlords of larger buildings may also be eligible if they have at least two qualifying tenants.

    The Bright Neighborhoods pilot is limited to three locations, representing different areas of Illinois: a Chicago neighborhood (West Garfield Park), a city in the Chicago area collar county (Waukegan), and a downstate metropolitan area (the Carbondale-Marion region).

    West Garfield Park was chosen as the pilot site in Chicago due to its lower-income status and low participation in the Solar For All program. The selection process also took into account the number of single-family homes in the community and input from West Side stakeholders.

    A significant difference between the regular Solar For All program and the pilot is the involvement of San Diego-based Solarium Energy. Instead of homeowners having to choose their own installation company, Solarium Energy was selected through a bidding process and will handle the installation of solar panels.

    Before installation can occur, income eligibility is determined as the first step. Elevate Energy, a Chicago-based nonprofit, conducts building inspections to assess the suitability of the property for solar panels. Roofs must be in good condition and electrical systems must be up to date for the system to last the desired 15-25 years.

    While the pilot program does not cover home repairs, applicants can be directed to additional resources such as the Home Repairs and Upgrades initiative or other federal, state, or nonprofit programs that may be able to assist them.

    Homeowners accepted into the program will work with Solarium Energy to finalize installation details. The company covers the cost of installation, and regular maintenance costs are capped at 50% of the generated solar energy value. On average, single-family homeowners can save $1,000 annually with solar panels, though individual savings may vary.

    The pilot program began on August 1st, and property owners have until November to apply. Despite a slower response than expected, program organizers remain encouraged and continue to actively reach out to eligible West Garfield Park residents.

    For more information on the Bright Neighborhoods program and to apply, visit the Illinois Solar For All website, contact [email protected], or call 888-970-ISFA.

    – Illinois Solar For All Program, Illinois Power Agency, Elevate Energy.
    – Illinois Solar For All Program website: