Sustainability traditionally applied to forestry, defined by the practice of continually renewing a resource. However, the term has come to be understood as in a more universal sense of the ability to continuously exist, or sustain life. The incorporation of sustainable practices or programs focus around three core pillars; economic, social, and environmental. Consideration of these pillars when making decisions is a key value of sustainability. DuPage County has worked to support sustainable practices and programs internally as well as externally.
Electric Vehicles (EVs)
There are many makes and models of electric vehicles and even plug-in hybrids that run partially on electricity. The U.S. Dept. of Energy has developed many tools to provide answers to the many questions you might have. The tools can provide you with accurate and local information on emissions and mpg.
There is a lot of information out there on electric vehicles with some being false. U.S. EPA developed an Electric Vehicle Myths page to debunk the misinformation.
Toolkits for an EV Purchase
There are multiple factors to consider when purchasing an EV, so below are toolkits that can provide more information when making a decision. If you already purchased an EV then make sure to register it with your utility such as ComEd to help them assess your electric service needs.
- Alternative Fuels Data Center - Alternative Fuel and Advanced Vehicle Search
- PlugStar - EV Shopping Assistant
EV Charging Stations
Charging an electric vehicle at home is easy, but the getting a charging station installed can come with a few extra steps. The tutorial video below discusses residential charging station options and what to do once you determine which station is right for you.
The Illinois Commerce Commission advises that charging stations should be installed by a registered installer. See a list of ICC registered EVSE installers listed on their website. It may be helpful to review different electric rate programs. If you're charging at night you might benefit from time-of-day or hourly pricing as opposed to fixed-rate pricing. Visit ComEd EV Rate Options for more information.
- ChargePoint's Interactive Map
- ComEd Public Charger Map
- Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center Alternative Fueling Station Locator
- PlugShare’s interactive map or Mobile app
- PowerForward DuPage - For Commercial Installations
- Multifamily Housing Resources
- Illinois Electric Vehicle Rebate (Offered intermittently)
- Federal Tax Credit - All Electric & Plug-in Hybrids
- City of Naperville Electric Vehicle Charging Station Level 2 & 3 Rebates - Up to $700 for residential and $500 for nonresidential
- Federal Tax Credit for EV Charging Equipment - Tax credit of 30% of the cost, up to $1,000
- Illinois Environmental Protection Agency Charging Incentive Program - Up to 80% of the cost of installation (Offered intermittently)
For Communities - EV Ready
The Metropolitan Mayors Caucus launched a program to help communities assess their capacity for electric vehicles. They provide assessment tools and make recommendations on how a community can become "EV Ready". In 2023 DuPage County made a commitment to EV readiness that can be seen in our letter of commitment to earn a EV Ready designation.
The Future Energy Jobs Act (Senate Bill 2814) was signed into law on December 7, 2016 and was significant as it placed emphasis on renewable development and energy efficiency in Illinois. The Act is anticipated to result in an investment of approximately $180 million per year in funding for renewable resources, including new wind power, large-scale solar power, and rooftop and community solar. DuPage County has been working to support solar installations. See the County's Solar Statement.
Solar Switch Chicagoland
DuPage County is participating in the Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA) and Citizens Utility Board’s (CUB) Solar Switch, a residential and commercial group purchasing opportunity. In this program a reverse-auction is held with qualified installers and the best price wins the auction. To learn more, visit solarswitch.com.
To obtain a permit for solar installation in unincorporated DuPage County, applicants must submit the required building permit application. Information on applying for a permit can be found on the Building Division webpage.
- Residential Solar System Informational Brochure
- Residential Solar Energy systems Informational Sheet
Homeowner's Guide to Going Solar
Check out the Homeowner’s Guide to Going Solar for an all-in-one resource as you begin to think about solar on your home.
Installing Solar on your Home
FOLLOW THESE STEPS:
- Educate yourself on solar system options.
- Conduct a site assessment to determine if solar is a viable option for your home.
- After you've determined that your home is suitable for solar, hire a certified installer or visit Power Forward DuPage.
- Review the DuPage County Residential Solar Brochure.
- Install your chosen system. Review the DuPage County Building Division Permitting website.
- Explore financing your new solar project.
Solar Mapping Tools
Want to get a rough idea about your home’s solar potential? Visit Google’s Project Sunroof!
Looking for a more detailed snapshot of solar on your rooftop? Input potential system info and review the economics of a solar project at your residence using the National Renewable Energy Lab’s (NREL) PV Watts calculator.
Residential Installation Resources
- Solar Consumer Protections
- Illinois Solar Energy Association site
- Homeowner’s Guide to Going Solar from the U.S. Department of Energy
- Homeowners' Solar Rights Act
Commercial Installation Resources
Once a solar panel reaches the end of its useful life it can sometimes be unclear as to what the next steps are. See below for helpful resources on the regulations, management, recycling, and other questions when it time to dispose of your solar panels:
- End-of-Life Solar Panels: Regulations and Management
- Solar Panel Recycling
- Solar Panel Frequent Questions
Solar Consumer Protection
Many organizations such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC), Illinois Solar Energy Association (ISEA), and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) have created documents dedicated to consumer rights and protection specifically addressing solar development. The resources below offer guidance on what rights you possess as a consumer, but do not replace legal counsel. For a list of legal representatives in the State of Illinois under the Illinois State Bar Association, click here.
- IREC Be Solar Smart Consumer Checklist: A strong preliminary tool to solar system installation.
- IREC Consumer Bill of Rights: Understand your consumer rights as relates to solar systems.
- SEIA Consumer Guide to Solar Power: A great introductory tool for anyone who is curious about solar energy.
- SEIA Residential Consumer Guide to Community Solar: Not able to support solar at your residence? Learn how to take advantage of community solar.
- EPA Solar Photovoltaic Specification, Checklist, and Guide: A technical guide for solar systems.
- SEIA Solar Business Code: Consider having your installer adhere to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) Business Code—the standard by which the Illinois Solar Energy Association (ISEA) advises all developers and installers conduct business.
- SEIA Solar Recycling: Information on solar recycling and disposal.
- SEIA Guide to Land Leases for Solar: An overview of land leases and the questions you should be asking.
- SEIA Solar Lease Disclosure: Entering into a solar energy lease agreement? Review this first!
- Sunspot Initiatives’ Solar Energy Resource Center
- Grow Solar Local Government Solar Toolkit for Illinois from the Great Plains Institute
- Illinois Solar Energy Association’s Municipal Resources Page
- Google Project Sunroof
- DOE State & Local Energy Data
- DSIRE database of energy - related policies and incentives in Illinois
- Energy.gov - Funding Information
- Solar Energy Glossary