C-U Churches Benefit From Energy Legislation

May 09, 2017
Urbana Mayor Diane Marlin, Andy Robinson of Unitarian Universalist Church, and Rev. Cindy Shepard of Faith in Place participate in Monday's ribbon cutting at the church.

Urbana Mayor Diane Marlin, Andy Robinson of Unitarian Universalist Church, and Rev. Cindy Shepard of Faith in Place participate in Monday's ribbon cutting at the church.

Jeff Bossert/Illinois Public Media

Some Champaign-Urbana churches are installing solar panels with help from a new state law promoting carbon-free electricity. A ribbon-cutting ceremony Monday celebrated the installation of solar energy panels at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Urbana. The 81 panels are expected to provide nearly 70 percent of the church’s electricity needs.

Solar developer Jason Hawksworth, whose company installed the solar panels, says the Future Energy Jobs Act enacted last year extends the market for state tax credits for solar energy beyond their initial two years --- meaning the church pays less money upfront for the solar panels.

“There was no sustained future  - in other words, the state allocated dollars to fund this program over a two year span," he said. "But it was really set to sunset at the end of 2016. But what the Future Energy Jobs Bill has done is provided us with a sustainable future.”

Hawksworth said other Champaign-Urbana churches are also installing solar panels, including McKinley Presbyterian Church in Champaign’s Campustown neighborhood.

That new law extending the life of state renewable tax credits is the same law that creates a surcharge to help Exelon’s money-losing nuclear power plants in Clinton and the Quad Cities.

Story source: WILL