June 12, 2024

New incentives spur solar interest

Kevin Sauder

PEORIA, Ill. — A company that started nine years ago with two electricians and since expanded to over 60 employees was promoting its offerings at a Greater Peoria Farm Show booth.

“The show this morning was good. We have a pretty constant flow this morning. It slowed down this afternoon. We’re thankful. We got a number of leads for solar, generators and HVAC,” Kevin Sauder, solar developer at 360 Electric Heating/Cooling, based in Morton, said of the show’s opening day Nov. 28.

“The goal is to just let people know we’re here and when you have a local company that is trusted and already has a whole bunch of satisfied customers, we want people to know that we’re doing solar, we’re doing generators.

“They know us for doing electric and HVAC already, so we just want to get that word out and let people know what else we’re doing.”

Sauder said the business has a full electric contracting division, an HVAC contracting division for heating and cooling, offers sales and service for Generac generators and sales and service for solar.

“When we think about 360 Electric, we think about full circle — 360 full-circle energy solutions,” Sauder said. “Our territory is about a two-hour radius from Morton, anything in central Illinois.”


There have been many changes in the energy space since the business was founded nine years ago, much of which is attributed to the political climate around renewable energy that’s driving a lot of the incentives.

“So, right now is the best the incentives that have ever been for solar and wind in Illinois,” Sauder noted.

Some of the original incentives started to sunset in 2021 and then in November 2022 the Inflation Reduction Act was passed.

“The act brought $369 billion into renewable energy. That really kind of reset that incentive gain for renewable energy and took the federal tax credit back up to 30% for another 10 years. So, we have 30% tax credit right now for solar and wind,” Sauder said.

“The state of Illinois made their contribution to this, as well, and anywhere between 25% to 35% of the project cost comes back to the customer in what’s called a Solar Renewable Energy Credit.

“Those SREC incentives come back to the customer based on how their system produces. So, all of that money really changes the economics and the return on investment for something like this.

“The median payback for solar in the state of Illinois is 8.3 years, depending on if you have a south-facing roof, which is always best because the sun is always south of us, with a nice pitch on it — it can probably get you a payback period between 6 to 7 years for most of our customers.”

Tom Doran

Tom C. Doran

Field Editor