- Approved Vendor Manual v1.0
- Low-Income Distributed Generation Consumer Protections Guidelines v1.0 DRAFT
- Site Suitability Guide v1.0 DRAFT
- Program Resource Guide
Approved Vendor Types
There are four types of Approved Vendors that can develop projects for Illinois Solar for All: 1) Approved Vendors, 2) Aggregator Approved Vendors, 3) Aggregator Designees, and 4) Single Project Approved Vendors. Approved Vendors and Single Project Approved Vendors have similar roles and responsibilities as they do in the Adjustable Block Program. Illinois Solar for All creates “Aggregator Approved Vendors” and “Aggregator Designees” – two new Approved Vendor types that will work collaboratively to develop ILSFA projects. All categories of Approved Vendor types, except Aggregator Designees, must register and maintain their status as Approved Vendors in the Adjustable Block Program. The categories are described below in further detail.
Approved Vendors will be the entity that is the contractual counterparty with either the Illinois Power Agency or an Illinois electric utility for RECs purchased through the Illinois Solar for All Program, and thus will be the entity that receives payments from the IPA or utility for REC deliveries as contract obligations are met. Approved Vendors are the entities responsible for submitting documentation to the Program Administrator (as the responsible party for the information contained in that documentation), maintaining collateral requirements, and providing ongoing information and reporting. As such, the Approved Vendors will have to coordinate the downstream information from installers/developers, as well as individual system owners who may provide required information through the installer/developer.
Aggregator Approved Vendors
The Program Administrator recognizes that the role Aggregators play in the market is an important one, especially for small or new solar installation companies. These Aggregators can help to provide important services to qualified entities that may otherwise face barriers in the market. Renewable Energy Credit Aggregators will work within the Illinois Solar for All program, managing renewable energy credits on behalf of system owners. Aggregators function as a counterparty to contracts with REC purchasers, allowing system owners the opportunity to generate revenue from the sale of their RECs.
Designees or system owners will contract directly with Aggregators, working within the Aggregator’s business and fee structure as a separate contractual arrangement from this program. The Aggregator must first be registered with the Adjustable Block Program and meet all Illinois Solar for All program requirements, with the Aggregator acting as Approved Vendor, accountable for meeting program requirements for projects developed by the Designee.
It is anticipated that the Aggregator Designee will act in most respects exactly as an Approved Vendor, except for allowing Aggregators to manage and serve as counterparty to their long-term REC contracts. However, Aggregators may find a market advantage in providing collective services for their Designees, like leveraging installation services, compliance with job training requirements, or procurement. Project applications can be completed by the Designee or the Approved Vendor Aggregator. While Approved Vendor Aggregators are ultimately responsible for meeting all program requirements, Designees will be required to meet all project level requirements, including quality assurance and inspection requirements. Failure to meet these requirements or poor-quality performance may result in remedial action or warning and suspension status for both the Aggregator and Designee.
Aggregator Designees are not required to register for the Adjustable Block Program. However, Designees are required to register for Illinois Solar for All in the same way as an Approved Vendor. Designees must be designated by at least one Approved Vendor Aggregators before registration. Aggregators must approve final Designee registration submissions prior to Program Administrator approval.
Single Project Approved Vendor
Entities can choose to register as an Illinois Solar for All Single Project Approved Vendor according to the limitations and requirements set forth in the Plan. Single Project Approved Vendors within the Illinois Solar for All program must meet the following requirements:
- The Single Project Approved Vendor will be the registered owner of the system
- Total capacity of the system will be at least 50 kW
- Single Project Approved Vendors can only submit one project to either Illinois Solar for All or the Adjustable Block Program
The following Illinois Solar for All requirements are not applicable to Single Project Approved Vendor applications:
- Standard contracts between the Approved Vendor and program participant/system host
- Standard disclosures
- The use of Illinois Solar for All standard brochures
Note that for community solar projects, all consumer protection requirements for Illinois Solar for All still apply for projects submitted by Single Project Approved Vendors. Also, all Single Project Approved Vendor projects must meet the job training requirement that 10% of all installation hours be performed by qualified trainees. See Section 6.19 of this manual for more details on job training requirements.
Approved Vendor Registration
To qualify for Illinois Solar for All, with the exception of the Approved Vendor Designee, applicants must first be registered with the Adjustable Block Program. Additional requirements for Approved Vendors under Illinois Solar for All must be met by submitting additional information and detailed plans for meeting ILSFA program requirements to the program administrator for approval. Approved Vendor Designees must also have their submissions approved by the Aggregator designating them.
The Project Application Process
Illinois Solar for All projects will be submitted in batches, similar to the Adjustable Block Program. A unique online dashboard will be created for and is only visible by each Approved Vendor. This dashboard provides tools for project application and document submission. Once projects are approved by the Illinois Solar for All Program Administrator and the Illinois Commerce Commission, 15-year Renewable Energy Credit (REC) delivery contracts will be generated, with either an electric utility or the State of Illinois as counterparty.
Approved Vendor Support
The Illinois Solar for All program is distinct from the Adjustable Block Program and will present different requirements and considerations for building the solar market in low-income and environmental justice communities. Illinois Solar for All Approved Vendors will be assigned an Approved Vendor Manager who will provide support and resources throughout the process.