Renewable Energy in Chicago [2024 Guide]

CleanChoice Energy employees at a rooftop solar farm
  • May 1, 2024

The city of Chicago is stepping boldly into the future of renewable energy. As Illinois pushes forward with its green energy plans, the Windy City is taking a leading role. In its pursuit of renewable energy, Chicago is balancing its role as a modern, bustling metropolis with a commitment to sustainability. Let’s explore what measures city leaders are taking, and how Chicago residents can play a part.

Chicago’s Renewable Energy Landscape

As one of the major urban centers in the Midwest, Chicago has made notable strides in incorporating renewable energy sources, particularly wind and solar, into its energy mix. The city benefits from Illinois' position as a leader in wind energy and is starting to leverage solar power more effectively.

Recent developments in Chicago's renewable energy sector include significant investments in solar panel installations across residential, commercial, and municipal buildings. Initiatives like the Chicago Solar Express aim to streamline the process of installing solar panels, making it quicker and more affordable. 

When compared to the broader trends in Illinois, Chicago stands out as an urban hub actively transitioning towards cleaner energy sources. The city’s efforts complement state-wide initiatives, contributing to the goal of having 25% of Illinois’ energy come from renewable sources by 2025

Benefits of Renewable Energy in Chicago

Chicago's transition to renewable energy is reaping a wide array of advantages across environmental, economic, and health sectors. Environmentally, switching from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources is significantly improving air quality in the city. This is especially important in a bustling urban area like Chicago, where lower emissions can substantially enhance air quality and reduce health problems linked to pollution.

Chicago's shift towards renewable energy and green technology is also driving remarkable economic growth and innovation. In 2022, the city's green economy generated over $18 billion in output, marking a staggering growth of nearly 180% since 2016. This boom is also reflected in employment, with over 65,000 jobs in the green economy, positioning Chicago as the fifth highest among the top ten metro areas in this sector.

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Renewable Energy Goals and Initiatives in Chicago

Chicago is on a determined path to reshape its energy landscape with ambitious renewable energy goals and initiatives. The city’s commitment is clearly articulated in its Climate Action Plan, which sets forth a vision for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and transitioning to renewable energy sources. A cornerstone of this plan is the goal to power all of Chicago’s municipal buildings with 100% renewable energy by 2025, a target that places the city at the forefront of urban sustainability efforts. This vision aligns seamlessly with Illinois’ statewide climate action plans, which aim for a broader transition to renewable energy across the state. 

A father and daughter looking over wind turbines in a wind farm producing renewable energy

Renewable Energy Incentives and Support in Chicago

To support its transition to renewable energy, Chicago residents have access to a range of incentives and support systems at both the federal and state levels. Federally, the solar investment tax credit (ITC) offers significant financial incentives for solar panel installation, allowing homeowners and businesses to deduct a portion of the installation cost from their federal taxes.

At the state level, Illinois’ renewable energy initiatives extend to Chicago, with programs like Illinois Shines and Illinois Solar for All. These programs offer Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs) and financial assistance for solar installations, making solar energy more accessible and affordable for a wider range of residents. Additionally, net metering policies in Illinois allow Chicagoans with solar systems to receive credits for excess energy their systems produce, further offsetting electricity costs.

Within the city, Chicago-specific programs and initiatives help to promote renewable energy adoption. The city offers support for green building projects, including property tax incentives and rebates. These incentives and support systems play a critical role in facilitating Chicago's shift towards a greener energy future, making renewable energy a viable and attractive option for its residents.

How Chicago Residents Can Engage with Renewable Energy

As Chicago continues to lead in urban renewable energy transformations, the involvement of its residents is more important than ever. By participating in local renewable energy initiatives and adopting sustainable practices, Chicagoans contribute to the collective effort to create a cleaner, healthier city. One of the most impactful steps individuals can take, of course, is to choose renewable energy for their homes.

CleanChoice Energy offers a straightforward way for Chicago residents to support renewable energy. By choosing CleanChoice Energy as their electricity supplier, individuals can easily switch to 100% clean, renewable energy. This choice enables Chicago residents to play a direct role in the renewable energy future. So, what are you waiting for? Get started today!

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