The Path to 100 Act

The Path to 100 Act will ensure that we meet 25% by 2025 and continue on the path toward 100% renewable energy!

Tell your legislators to support renewable energy today:

Solar Access for All of Illinois

The Illinois Commerce Commission’s (ICC or Commission) recently approved the Illinois Power Agency’s (IPA) Long-term Renewable Resources Procurement Plan that will usher in new wind and solar projects that will be a boon to Illinois’ economy and job market, which for years has struggled to see significant clean energy development.

The changes ordered by the ICC requires 8 million new renewable energy credits to be procured by 2019, spurring even more new wind and solar projects in the state than the initial plan proposed. Currently, Illinois has very little wind and solar (about 9% of Illinois overall energy capacity).

On April 3, the ICC made three improvements in its final order. These improvements are detailed below.

Solar Access for All of Illinois

First, it allows people and businesses in municipalities and cooperatives to enjoy the full benefits of the renewables. The Proposed Order excluded people getting electricity service from municipalities and cooperatives from participating in community and rooftop programs, as well as the Solar For All Program, a program that encourages solar development and hiring for solar jobs in low income communities. The law was meant to benefit everyone, and the Commission correctly determined that any Illinois citizen should be able to participate in solar programs.

Keeping Renewables Local

Second, the Commission upheld the IPA’s formula and required threshold for determining whether a project meets the public interest criteria, for example, reducing air pollution impacting Illinois. The ICC rejected the weakening of this threshold, meaning that projects must demonstrate with further certainty that they are meeting the public interest requirements for Illinoisans. This will result in more projects built locally, providing health benefits to the citizens of Illinois.

Building More Renewables in Illinois

Third, the ICC effectively increased the amount of wind and solar projects that will be built by canceling procurements for a series of short-term contracts and expanding amount of required longer-term contracts. Longer contracts for renewable energy credits encourage new build instead of giving more money to older systems. For many years, Illinois’ Renewable Portfolio Standard failed to encourage new wind and solar projects in Illinois. In this order, the ICC recognizes that the Future Energy Jobs Act (FEJA) focuses on building of new, local wind and solar projects. By investing in new projects now, Illinois will be better equipped to meet the long-term goals of FEJA and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.

This final order is a gigantic step into the clean energy future promised to Illinois with the passage of FEJA.

Solar Roofing

Tesla Solar Roofing

Tesla’s mission is to accelerate the world’s transition to a sustainable energy future by creating products that are so compelling, there is no alternative. Solar energy has always been part of our master plan, and we recognized the need for a roof that is simultaneously affordable, durable, beautiful and integrated with battery storage.

Solar Roof complements a home’s architecture while turning sunlight into electricity. With an integrated Powerwall, energy collected during the day is stored and made available any time, effectively turning a home into a personal utility. Solar energy can be generated, stored and used day and night, providing uninterrupted power even if the grid goes down.

Solar Roof is more affordable than conventional roofs because in most cases, it ultimately pays for itself by reducing or eliminating a home’s electricity bill. Consumer Reports estimates that a Solar Roof for an average size U.S. home would need to cost less than $24.50 per square foot to be cost competitive with a regular roof. The cost of Solar Roof is less. The typical homeowner can expect to pay $21.85 per square foot for Solar Roof,1 and benefit from a beautiful new roof that also increases the value of their home.

Solar Roof uses two types of tiles—solar and non-solar. Looking at the roof from street level, the tiles look the same. Customers can select how many solar tiles they need based on their home’s electricity consumption. For example, households that charge an electric vehicle every day may want more solar tiles on their roof.

In doing our own research on the roofing industry, it became clear that roofing costs vary widely, and that buying a roof is often a worse experience than buying a car through a dealership. Initial contracts tend to be overly optimistic, and later customers face hidden costs that were never mentioned up front.

At Tesla, we believe in transparency and putting the customer in control. That’s why we created a Solar Roof calculator that lets homeowners estimate the upfront price of Solar Roof, as well as the value of the energy it can generate for their home. The calculator is based on factors like roof size, the average local price of electricity, and how much sunlight a neighborhood receives throughout the year.

As shown in the graph below, the cost of our non-solar tiles is comparable to regular roofing tiles.2 Although the cost of our solar tiles is more expensive up front, it can be more than offset by the value of energy the tiles produce.3 In many cases, the reduction in a home’s electricity bill over time will be greater than the cost of the roof.

Design & Durability
Solar Roof will be available in a variety of designs, including Smooth and Textured (available this year) and Tuscan and Slate (available early 2018). Made with tempered glass, Solar Roof tiles are more than three times stronger than standard roofing tiles, yet half the weight. They do not degrade over time like asphalt or concrete. Solar Roof is the most durable roof available and the glass itself will come with a warranty for the lifetime of your house, or infinity, whichever comes first.

Customers may place an order for Solar Roof today on the Tesla website. Installations of Solar Roof will begin in the U.S. this summer and we expect installations outside the U.S. to begin in 2018.

1 $21.85 per square foot is the price of a Solar Roof derived using similar methodology, roof size, and energy costs described in Consumer Reports’ research. This price does not reflect any solar incentives. The price was calculated for a roof where 35 percent of the tiles are solar (solar tiles cost more per square foot than non-solar tiles), in order to generate $53,500 worth of electricity, which according to Consumer Reports would make a solar roof more affordable than an asphalt shingle roof.

2 Average roofing costs were derived from data available on Home Advisor and Homewyse. In each case, there is a wide range of roofing costs and we report the midpoint in each case. Ranges for roof tile types from Home Advisor were derived using information from roofing contractors that included all equivalent components of a Solar Roof (such as installation labor, materials, existing roof tear-off, and underlayment). Range of fully installed costs per square foot from Home Advisor were: Slate, $13.00 – $21.00; Metal, $9.60 – $21.40; Tile, $7.80 – $16.00; Asphalt, $4.40 – $8.70. Costs from Homewyse were derived using their online cost calculator, averaged across 3 representative zip codes (Albany, NY 12220; Fort Worth, TX 76122; Bakersfield, CA 93314) and resulted in the following cost ranges per square foot: Slate, $12.03 – $17.57; Metal, $11.22 – $16.24; Tile, $11.85 – $17.34; and Asphalt, $3.28 – $5.45.

3 In the bar chart, the “Solar Roof with Value of Energy” is calculated based on a roof where 50 percent of the tiles are solar; 30 years of electricity production; and a grid electricity price of 13.7 cents per kilowatt-hour in year one (the average electricity price in Q1 2017 across California, Texas, and North Carolina — the states referenced by Consumer Reports), escalating at 2 percent annually. The calculation also reflects the inclusion of one Powerwall 2 battery. The ability to realize the full value depends on a household’s electricity usage, the amount of energy storage available, and local utility regulations.

Wind technician needed

Wind turbine service tech jobs will grow by a whopping 108 percent through 2024, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Chicago’s Invenergy, the largest independent wind farm developer in the country, is hiring dozens of people at its corporate headquarters and at energy sites across the country, according to HR chief Jamie Rafferty. Technicians inspect and repair wind turbines, which involves fixing electrical, mechanical and hydraulic problems. Typical pay is about $51,000, but many technicians earn more with overtime. Several community colleges in Illinois offer wind technician programs, but some employers are willing to train people on the job.

Illinois energy bill, Exelon, ComEd reach agreement

Exelon Generation and ComEd announced that they had reached an agreement with all those concerned and that an amendment has been attached to the bill that provides protections to limit the cost impact of SB 2814 for all businesses and set a cap of no more than 25 cents per month increase for residential customers. According to them, SB 2814 will prevent an estimated $11.2 billion loss that would occur if the nuclear plants were closed down. Instead, there will be the preservation of 4,200 jobs, along with the creating of thousands of new clean energy jobs and flexible business options to save with energy efficiency initiatives. All parties will now continue to work to actually get SB 2814 Future Energy Jobs Bill enacted and signed by the Governor.

Solar News

Millenium Solar PanelsOver the past six years, the cost of solar energy has dropped dramatically, to the point where it is now even cheaper than wind power in emerging markets like China and India. This may be largely due to rising investments in solar over the last few years. Now, there is electricity being produced in Chile for $29.10 per megawatt hour–half the price of power produced by coal.

“Renewables are robustly entering the era of undercutting” energy made by fossil fuels, Bloomberg New Energy Finance chairman Michael Liebreich wrote, This is great news for developing nations, which do not generally have the kind of infrastructure that developed countries have dedicated to fossil fuels already in place. As they build their energy infrastructure, it will make sense to go with cheaper, renewable options, more so than it does for a country like the United States to abandon our formidable fossil-fuel based infrastructure.