Governor Pat Quinn today addressed the 2013 Solar Power International conference in Chicago, highlighting the major advances Illinois has made in promoting and developing sustainable energy sources in the state. Today's address is part of Governor Quinn's agenda to protect our natural resources and ensure a clean and healthy environment for future generations.
"It is my pleasure to welcome the Solar Power International conference and its attendees from around the world," Governor Quinn said. "In order to protect this great natural resource, we must educate ourselves and the world around us. In Illinois we understand the critical importance of solar energy and strengthening the industry to ensure a promising future for this innovative technology."
Illinois is among the top 10 solar-friendly states based on solar power incentives, utility interconnection and metering policies. Governor Quinn has implemented standards that will require 25 percent of the state's energy needs to be met by renewable energy by 2025, six percent of which must come from solar power.
The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity's Clean Energy Program builds upon Illinois' significant potential for renewable power by offering services and incentives for residents and businesses. More than 1,700 clean energy rebates and grants have been awarded for solar, wind, biomass and biogas installations in Illinois. These $24 million in incentives have supported $100 million in solar project installations. There are 185 companies in the solar supply chain in Illinois that employ 1,700 workers. In Chicago, 45 companies focus on solar energy research and development, investment, installation and related professional services.
More than $27 million was invested in solar electric installations in Illinois in 2012, a 259 percent increase over the previous year. Average prices for residential and commercial solar systems in Illinois have fallen by 26 percent from 2011 to 2012 and the state's solar capacity is currently enough to power 6,200 households.
Illinois' focus on developing clean energy creates jobs, improves the environment, saves natural resources and increases the nation's energy independence.