New Law Will Preserve Homeowners’ Solar Rights

Gov. Pritzker’s signature provides needed protections against solar access restrictions.

SPRINGFIELD, IL (July 28, 2021) — Gov. JB Pritzker signed legislation protecting Illinoisans’ right to clean energy and access to solar power. A revision to the Homeowners’ Energy Policy Statement Act, HB 644 will guarantee homeowners’ rights to place solar on their home without major redesign requirements, while improving the timeline for approval by a homeowners’ association (HOA).

“HB 644 is an important bill that will eliminate red tape for families and businesses that are helping our state make the transition to a clean energy future,” said Rep. Dan Didech (D- Buffalo Grove), the bill’s chief House sponsor. “The governor’s action this week brings us one step closer to a world where our state can take full advantage of the potential offered by solar energy technologies.”

This bill will enable greater deployment of customer-sited generation, like rooftop solar, by recognizing the right all Illinoisans have to generate and store their own clean electricity. Rooftop solar empowers people with the ability to generate their own power on their own property and store it in a battery for resilience even in the event of grid outages.

“Renewable energy is the future,” said Senator Adriane Johnson (D- Buffalo Grove), chief Senate sponsor. “We need to be breaking down barriers for homeowners to take advantage of clean energy and lower bills, and I am proud that the changes this bill enacts will help do just that.”

The solar industry has grown rapidly throughout Illinois, and customers are taking charge of their energy future, investing in rooftop solar to save on their energy bills and benefit from clean energy. That growth has created thousands of family-supporting jobs, and at the same time, offering savings to Illinois ratepayers.

“The Homeowners’ Energy Policy Statement Act is a big win for energy freedom in Illinois and opens the door for more Illinoisans to choose solar for their homes. This bill goes a long way in reducing unnecessary delays and restrictions by reiterating the right for every Illinoisan to go solar,” said John Delurey, senior midwest regional director at Vote Solar.

This bill has an immediate impact on homeowners like Jennifer Bassler, a resident of Belleville, Illinois, who was recently sued by her HOA after installing solar panels on her home.

Reacting to the news that Gov. Pritzker signed HB 644 into law, Jennifer Bassler said, “My family was thrilled to hear that HB 644 was signed by Gov. Pritzker yesterday. This bill ensures we will get to keep the solar panels on our home, and it opens the path to solar energy for so many others in our neighborhood who were previously unable to even consider it due to roof face limitations. However, our fight is not over, as we still believe we had the right to our solar energy system under the original law. We have endured seven months of litigation with our Homeowners Association over our solar energy system and hope that it will end with a positive resolution soon.”

Regulations have hindered the increased interest in solar power, but this new law ensures every resident can fairly and equitably benefit from Illinois’ clean energy future.

“The Illinois Solar Energy Association is pleased that Gov. Pritzker has signed HB644, further ensuring that consumers in the state will have the right to be solar powered,” said Lesley McCain of the Illinois Solar Energy Association. “We hope to increase opportunities for Illinois families to benefit from home solar, and urge Gov. Pritzker and legislative leaders to pass omnibus energy legislation passed as soon as possible.”

Each new local rooftop solar installation in Illinois can reduce energy bills for families and businesses while providing valuable job creation, cleaner air, and a more resilient electricity system. Additionally, reducing carbon emissions is critical to making progress on Gov. Pritzker’s climate goals.

“The benefits of this legislation go far beyond any single rooftop,” said Colleen Smith, deputy director of the Illinois Environmental Council. “We can make meaningful progress on carbon reduction and reaching our climate goals by getting everyone involved, and breaking down barriers to solar will lead to cleaner air, healthier residents and more vibrant local economies.”


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