Solar Gardens

Peter Medlin

Illinois consumers are getting closer to having solar as part of their energy choices – without having to build their own array.

Companies seeking to sell solar generated electricity to the public in the state find out Wednesday, April 10 if they’ll be able to proceed this year. The Illinois Power Agency holds a lottery Wednesday afternoon to select which proposals will be eligible for the renewable energy credits needed to make them viable.  

Peter Medlin

Solar power has been used here and there in Illinois for a long time. But now the state is going for it in a big way. 

In the 19th Century, scientists discovered that you could generate electricity directly from sunlight when you arrange certain elements in a particular way. In the 1950s, scientists at Bell Labs took an element they were using to develop the first transistors – silicon – to create the photovoltaic, or PV, cells that we know today.