Elevate Energy Blog

Illinois Solar for All Success Story

Get to know the Dubois family, proud new owners of one of the first residential solar systems installed through Illinois Solar for All!

While solar energy is growing across the country, some people do not have the same opportunities to access solar because of their building type or financial situation. Expanding equitable access to solar energy is the goal of Illinois Solar for All (ILSFA), a program that Elevate administers. In June 2020, ILSFA completed one of its first single-family home installations with the Dubois family in the Marynook neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side.

Participant of Illinois Solar for All standing on steps next to solar panel

Pictured: Lytese Dubois. Photo courtesy of Certasun LLC

The day Dubois’s solar system was installed on their bungalow rooftop was exciting. “It was like we were in Hollywood because the neighbors were interested, and they pulled over to see what was going on,” said Lytese Dubois.

Through ILSFA, the Dubois household doesn't have any upfront costs for their new rooftop solar system, and they’re expected to save over $10,000 on electricity costs over the next 15 years.

The Dubois Family Story

Lytese learned about ILSFA from a community meeting at New Covenant Baptist Church, and she was drawn to the savings that the program offers. Her family started working with Certasun LLC, the ILSFA solar vender who had presented at her church.

The process leading up to the installation was described by Lytese as hassle-free; she simply needed to provide Certasun with her family’s previous ComEd bills and tax returns, and Certasun took care of the rest.

Lytese has been telling her friends and neighbors about ILSFA to encourage them to take advantage of the savings and environmental benefits that the program offers. “I think this is a natural process -- we’re getting [the energy] directly from the sun,” she said.

Rooftop solar installation through Illinois Solar for All

Pictured: Solar panels being installed on the Dubois's home. Photo courtesy of Certasun LLC

The Dubois’ new solar system is connected to the electrical grid and has started to convert the sunlight it absorbs into electricity. It's estimated to save the Dubois household $46 per month for the first year of their contract, which they'll receive as credits on their electric bill. Since electricity costs are expected to rise over time, the system is estimated to save them over $10,400 over the course of their 15 and a half-year contract with Certasun.

More Opportunities for Income-Eligible Renters and Owners

For renters and homeowners whose home isn’t suitable for solar panels, ILSFA also allows opportunities to take advantage of community solar. Community solar projects are installed offsite, and anyone residing in the same utility territory can subscribe to shares of the project in exchange for credits on their electric bill.

ILSFA’s third program year began over the summer, bringing with it funding for more solar projects. Approved solar vendors within the program are actively developing projects and looking for new participants. Income-eligible residents like the Dubois family can find Approved Vendors working on residential projects here. Renters or homeowners who want to subscribe to a community solar project can look for a project in their utility territory here.