A solar energy market has been proposed for Illinois as it seeks to attract more of the nation’s power companies to the state.
SolarCity is one of the companies proposing the proposal and is the second company in as many weeks to announce it has signed a deal with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to develop a solar power project in the state, according to a press release issued Thursday by the Illinois Public Utilities Commission.
Solar energy companies are trying to gain access to state-owned power in Illinois because it has more renewable energy sources and higher power prices, according a report by the nonprofit Green Jobs Campaign.
The group estimates that Illinois has the second-highest solar energy penetration in the nation.
The state is home to approximately 2.2 million residents and has the highest percentage of solar energy in the country, according the group.
The solar industry in Illinois has expanded rapidly over the last few years and in 2015 was worth $1.6 billion, according an analysis by Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
Solar Power Illinois has two major projects under development: the Greenfield Power Station in Illinois and the Greenford Power Station.
The two plants are scheduled to be completed in 2020 and 2021.
SolarPower Illinois also is working with the state’s Department of Environmental Quality to install solar panels on land it owns in Greenfield.
Solar power is becoming a mainstream energy source in Illinois.
Solar power accounted for 2.6 percent of Illinois’ electricity in the first quarter of 2019, the latest quarter available.
The share of Illinois electricity generated by renewable energy increased to 2.5 percent in the same quarter of this year, according TOI data.
The Illinois solar industry is expected to grow in the coming years, according Toi.
Solar Energy Illinois, a subsidiary of SolarCity, is seeking to build more than 100 megawatts of solar power by 2030, the state said in its press release.
The company plans to install approximately 1,300 panels to support up to 1,000 households and businesses.