By Dorothy Tucker

(CBS) — Hundreds of conservation-minded home owners who are waiting on thousands of dollars from the state of Illinois may end up empty-handed.

As CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker reports, they are the latest victims of the state’s budget crisis.

Estimated heating bills for Linda Foster were nearly $900 a month before she and her husband did major upgrades to their furnace, insulation, windows and — the biggest saver – they installed solar panels. Now, their home is cheaper to maintain.

The big savings came with a significant upfront cost — $20,000. But it also included a 20 percent discount from U.S. Solar, the company that installed the panels; a 30 percent tax write-off; and a 30 percent rebate from the state that was expected to be $6,000.

But Foster’s husband, Edmondo Lupieri, says an email from the state of Illinois delivered some bad news. Officials said they had a record number of applicants and not everyone would be reimbursed. Only 359 owners – randomly selected – would be reimbursed, with another 240 people not being reimbursed for installing solar panels.

Lupieri says he would not have installed the solar panels if he knew he and his spouse would not receive the state assistance.

Just a few blocks away, another family got $4,600 from the state.

Hille Hacker was among the lucky 359 that got reimbursed and got her state check a couple of weeks ago.

According to state’s website, it’s accepting applicants for this year’s program. Lupieri’s fear is that last year’s customers are out of luck.

Should people applying to this year’s program be concerned about not getting their rebates?

State representatives did not respond to questions from CBS 2.



Dorothy Tucker