Solar Electricity Technologies in Illinois

Abstract

Environmental preservation is one of the major issues that bother the international community nowadays. The world seeks to reduce pollution caused by the use of non-renewable energy resources, which should be achieved by the transition to renewable energy sources such as wind, geothermal, and solar energy. Illinois, a state in the United States, has enacted policies in an attempt to curb carbon emission from energy production that uses coal. The state possesses the ability to reduce carbon emission by 3 % by using solar energy. This paper aims at exploring measures and strategies of the Illinois local government to improve solar energy production. Information was retrieved from the states local government reports and journals. Further, investigations are made on how the production of solar energy improves the living standards of the residents of Illinois. From the study, it is evident that the use of solar energy as a clean source of electricity has offered social, economic, and health advantages to the people of Illinois. Specifically, the use of this renewable source of energy has reduced costs, incurred by households and the local government, in providing electricity to the citizens. The results of research allow stating that the state of Illinois has effectively transited to the use of solar energy as a source of renewable energy.

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Introduction

Over the past decade, various countries around the globe have experienced severe climatic changes resulting from environmental pollution. This pollution has been caused by the use of non-renewable sources of energy. Subsequently, environmental preservation has become an serious problem for the international community. To curb the effects of climate change, the world seeks to reduce pollution, caused by the use of non-renewable energy resources. Thus, various countries shift to using renewable sources of energy, with solar energy being among the most popular ones. Solar power is a limitless as well as a clean source of energy that can be used by any country in the world. This report explores the extent, to which solar energy is used in the state of Illinois, measures of the local government to support solar technologies, and recommendations to improve the use of solar energy in the state.

Review of Solar Technology in Illinois

Most countries around the world move towards using renewable energy sources in an attempt to reduce carbon emissions. In the United States, each state has a duty to reduce carbon emission from non-renewable energy sources by 3%. Illinois is one of the US states that has the potential of meeting the set target. Notably, the state mostly incorporates biomass resources, wind energy, and solar technology as a source of renewable energy. However, Illinois primarily uses solar power as the primary source of clean energy due to the demand in such energy as well environmental policies, aimed at reducing pollution caused by fossil fuels. The state has been recognized as the leading producer of electricity that uses non-renewable sources of energy. Additionally, Illinois is a net exporter of electricity to neighboring states. The states transform solar energy into electricity by using Solar Photovoltaic (PV) panels.

The use of solar photovoltaic energy receptors enhances effectiveness. Specifically, the photovoltaic systems, used in the state of Illinois, improve their efficiency by 1% annually. Further, the speed, at which ultra-violet rays are intercepted by the photovoltaic panels, has tremendously increased. The MidAmerican Energy, the Edison Corporation, and Ameren Illinois corporations continuously incorporate cheap and efficient PV systems to enable provision of clean energy to the residents of Illinois. In 2012, the local government opened a new solar farm in Lassalle County. Firms provide approximately 570 watts of electricity to maximize the use of solar technology. Finally, the local government has appointed policy makers who determine the amount of solar PV penetration into the solar energy receptors.

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Reasons for the Use of Solar Technology in Illinois

One of the major reasons for incorporating solar technology for the production of energy in Illinois is its renewability since it is limitless. Such traditional energy source as fossil fuel is subject to exhaustion. Additionally, they have tremendously increased in price lately, thus causing the world to shift to renewable sources of energy. The use of fossil fuels as sources of energy results in the emission of carbon dioxide that pollutes the environment. Thus, the state needs to incorporate a clean method of producing energy. Solar energy is the best source of clean power as it is renewable, cheap, and limitless

Over the past few years, the use of solar PV systems in Illinois has tremendously increased. Thus, the prices for PV systems have declined. A report released in 2015 discloses that the prices for such systems have dropped from $3.12 to $2.56 for every watt of mounted capacity. Furthermore, due to technological advances, PV systems have become better at processing of tapping solar energy. These new technologically advanced systems are efficient as well as suitably priced. Moreover, the increased tapping of solar energy has been driven by government incentives. Thus, the government aims at transiting to the use of clean sources of energy. An objective has been set by the government to use solar power as the primary source of clean energy. Specifically, the government provides subsidies in the establishment of solar PV systems in Illinois to meet the high demand for energy. Lastly, the production of electricity using solar energy will help reduce carbon dioxide emission. This will have a positive impact on the environment of Illinois and the USA in general. Additionally, the decrease of emission will minimize pollution, specifically acidic rains

State Government Particular Policies Regarding Solar Technology in Illinois

The state of Illinois has enacted policies for developing and promoting solar technology. These policies and regulations aim to ensure that the state successfully incorporates solar power as a clean source of energy. Thus, the local government has initiated a fresh plan project. This project aims at not only reducing greenhouse emissions but also reaping significant economic and health benefits to the citizens of Illinois. By 2030, the local government aims at providing approximately 6,000 megawatts of electricity by using solar technology. Therefore, increased production of electricity will result in nearly $5.6 new capital venture in the state of Illinois.

The production of electricity from solar power will reduce the states expenditures for energy production. The state expects to save up to $2,1 billion from the costs, incurred in acquiring oil. The production of electricity using coal, which is the major source of non-renewable energy in Illinois, will be reduced significantly as well. On the other hand, the amount incurred in production of energy using solar energy is approximately $7,2. This implies that the use of solar energy in the state of Illinois is cheaper and more efficient. Lastly, household should decrease their electricity expenditures by 9,4%. Subsequently, the households will be able to save up to $100 annually. This will help improve the living standards among the residents of the state.

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State Companies Using This Technology

Some of the major providers of electricity in Illinois are MISAO and PJM. These grid operators service portions of the state to meet the needs of consumers. The government frequently provides subsidies to these grid operators to help increase the amount of electricity supplied. The most significant electricity providers in Illinois are MidAmerican energy. The Commonwealth Edison Corporation is based in Chicago. It was founded in 1907. This organization provides electricity to approximately 3,5 million residents in northern Illinois. Ameren Illinois has its headquarters in Collinsville and serves around 1,2 million consumers in southern and central Illinois. Lastly, the MidAmerican energy is based in Des Moines and it provides electricity to the residents all over the state of Illinois. Such a variety of electricity providers enables the residents of Illinois to have an opportunity to choose their preferred electricity supplier.

Potential Capacities to Expand Solar Technology in Illinois

With the incorporation of the clean project plan, Illinois aims at producing less emissions as compared to the baseline year. In 2012, the base year, the state recorded the highest emission of carbon dioxide from use of non-renewable energy to generate electricity. Remarkably, the state of Illinois is positioned quite well to achieve this target. Additionally, the state can meet the goal by incorporating the clean plan project that aims at reducing carbon dioxide emission. Furthermore, the states could engage in well-structured trade-off programs with other states in an attempt to decrease its carbon emissions. By participating in such programs and auctioning emission allowances, the states local government would generate more revenue, thus benefitting the local community. According to a research conducted by the union of scientists, the states compliance with the clean project plan will positively impact the state. This improvement will be manifested in economic, social, and health benefits to the residents of the state of Illinois.

The local government should endorse policies that ensure the incorporation of clean energy sources. As of now, the states RPS is broken. The local government can only increase the production of clean energy by fixing the RPS. As propositioned by the HB2607/SB1485, to achieve a reduction in electricity demand, the state should strengthen the EEPS. Furthermore, the local government should auction carbon emissions to direct revenue to the programs that benefit the community. The implementation of these programs will help Illinois reclaim its position as the nations top provider of clean energy.

The graph below represents the already installed solar capacity in Illinois.

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Recommendations

For the state to achieve full-scale economic, social, and health benefits from the clean path project, the policymakers, stakeholders, and regional transmission organizations will have to develop a compliance plan. This plan will focus on solar technology efficiency and benefits to the local community. Additionally, it will comprehensively feature the public participation in the transition to the use of solar energy. This will include workers who are adversely affected by the change from non-renewable sources of power to solar energy. This plan should develop strategies that will allow the trade of carbon allowances. Such a plan lowers the local governments administrative burdens and increases the certainty of a successful reduction of carbon emissions. Lastly, the electricity providers in the state of Illinois should aim at diversifying their sources of energy. Thus, they should consider using efficient and effective renewable energy sources. This will help curb carbon emissions, resulting from the use of non-renewable sources of energy. Policies, such as the clean plan project, will bring economic and health benefits to the residents of Illinois. Subsequently, these benefits would lead to a significant improvement of living standards in the state.

Conclusion

Illinois is one of those states that would enhance the use of solar energy to produce electricity. The local government has developed the ways of improving the use of solar energy to generate electricity. One of such ways is the provision of subsides to electricity providers. Additionally, the local government has incorporated a plan that will focus on solar technology efficiency and benefits to the local community. The method will comprehensively feature the public participation in the transition to using solar energy. This will include workers whose jobs suffer from the transition from non-renewable sources of power. As a result, the residents of the state will benefit from the use of solar energy to produce electricity.

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