Category: Illinois

Top 10 Biking Trails in the Chicago Area for Commuting

10. Chicago Riverwalk

  • A scenic route along the Chicago River, ideal for short commutes within the downtown area.

9. South Lakefront Trail

  • Extends from 71st Street to 31st Street, providing a beautiful lakeside ride, perfect for those living in the southern neighborhoods.

8. North Branch Trail

  • A serene path running through forest preserves, connecting the northern suburbs to the city, great for a longer, peaceful commute.

7. Boulevard System

  • A historic network of tree-lined boulevards, offering a quieter alternative to main roads for central and west side commuters.

6. 606 Trail (Bloomingdale Trail)

  • An elevated trail that runs through several northwest neighborhoods, popular for its connectivity and urban views.

5. Humboldt Park Greenway

  • A shorter trail that runs through Humboldt Park, connecting to other major trails and bike lanes in the city.

4. Burnham Greenway

  • A trail that connects Chicago to the suburbs to the south, ideal for longer commutes from places like Calumet City.

3. Major Taylor Trail

  • Named after the famous African American cyclist, this trail connects several south side neighborhoods, providing a direct route downtown.

2. North Shore Channel Trail

  • Follows the North Shore Channel, linking northern suburbs like Skokie and Evanston with the city, offering a scenic and efficient route.

1. Lakefront Trail

  • Stretching 18 miles along Lake Michigan, this is the most popular trail for commuting due to its direct route through the city, stunning views, and access to numerous neighborhoods and downtown.Also learn about the Illinois net metering changes coming in 2025.

Illinois Net Metering Changes

Is Illinois Phasing Out Net Metering?

In Illinois, net metering is undergoing significant changes starting January 1, 2025, particularly for Ameren customers. Here are the key points:

Reduced Net Metering Benefits: For new solar customers who install panels after January 1, 2025, the net metering benefit will be reduced. While current net metering provides credits on the entire electric bill (supply, delivery, taxes, and fees), after the changes, new customers will only receive credits on the supply portion of their bill​ (Illinois Power Agency)​​ (Citizens Utility Board)​.

Grandfathering Existing Customers: Customers who have already installed solar panels and have been approved for net metering before the end of 2024 will continue to receive the full net metering benefits for the life of their system, which is typically defined as 30 years​.

What is the Net Metering Limit in Illinois?

Distributed Generation Rebate: New solar customers after January 1, 2025, will be eligible for a Distributed Generation (DG) Rebate. This rebate requires the use of a smart inverter and provides an upfront financial benefit to offset the reduced net metering credits. The rebate amount will be at least $300 per kilowatt of generating capacity.

What is the Deadline for Full Benefits? To take advantage of the current full net metering benefits, customers must have their solar systems installed, interconnected, and receive permission to operate from the utility by December 31, 2024. Specific deadlines for documentation submissions to ensure timely approval have been set by utilities like Ameren and ComEd​.

These changes are part of Illinois’ broader transition towards a value-based compensation framework for solar energy, reflecting the state’s increasing adoption of solar power and the legislative adjustments planned under the Future Energy Jobs Act of 2016​.

*Sources Illinois Power Agency & Citizens Utility Board

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