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Solar news: September 17th, 2021

In this week’s news roundup, we discuss an important update to solar incentives in Illinois, and a new solar powered electric vehicle (EV) charging facility in California. 

Illinois State Legislature Passes Landmark Energy Bill

The future of Illinois’s state solar incentives has been in doubt in recent months due to disputes over a bill establishing an extension of some incentives. However, state legislators were able to reach a compromise in the state House of Representatives in early September, and the bill was passed by the state’s senate earlier this week. Below are some key stipulations of this bill: 

  1. 100% renewable energy target for the state’s power sector by 2050 

  2. Increased funding for Illinois’s Solar For All Program and for the state’s Adjustable Block Program. The Adjustable Block Program was no longer accepting new applications as of early 2021. 

  3. Increased funding for existing nuclear power plants that account for more than 50% of the state’s power 

  4. $140 million in assistance for transitioning local economies dependent on fossil fuels and $80 million in contractor training for renewable energy jobs.

Notably, in the newest iteration of this bill, Illinois coal power plants will remain open at least until 2038 and will have the option to remain open indefinitely if they can succeed in reducing carbon emissions by 45% of current levels by 2038. 

California’s first solar powered electric trucking station established by WattEV

California based startup WattEV is planning to build a charging station designed for solely heavy duty shipping vehicles. This station will take approximately two years to complete, and will initially feature 12 truck chargers with a total capacity of 4 megawatts (MW). WattEV plans to eventually scale the station to 40 MW of charging capacity. The charging will initially be powered by a 5 MW solar array with battery storage, which will later be scaled to 25 MW. WattEV aims to quickly aid in the transition of US trucking transport to zero emissions by providing infrastructure like their proposed station throughout California. 

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