Commercial Solar in Chicago: Is It Worth It?

One of the renowned business powerhouses, Chicago has licensed over 100,000 different enterprises, some using commercial solar panels to power their endeavors, cut energy costs, and create a winning brand image of a clean future contributor.

Without a doubt, commercial solar panels can take your business to a whole new level. According to SEIA, the commercial solar segment reached 345 MW of direct current in the third quarter of 2023, with some projects growing by 7%.

Read on to learn everything you need to know about commercial solar Chicago.

Advantages of Commercial Solar in Chicago

Financial Savings

The cost of solar equipment and installation services is not low:

  • For large businesses (250-300 kW system): $400,000 – $600,000
  • For medium businesses (100-200 kW system): $150,000 – $350,000
  • For small businesses (25-75 kW system): $50,000 – $100,000

The most important, though, is that the cost has steadily decreased over the past 20 years, taking less and less time to recoup the initial investment in commercial solar in Chicago.

Per-watt energy cost statistics
Source: Statista

With solar panels, you’re killing two birds with one stone: using energy in necessary quantities and reducing electricity bills. You can feel the effect in just one year.

Enhancing Company Reputation

Commercial solar panel installation in Chicago demonstrates your responsibility and concern for the environment. Solar energy is an environmentally friendly way of generating electricity. It doesn’t emit greenhouse gases, thus playing a key role in addressing climate change.

Furthermore, a strategically designed and properly executed campaign aimed at acquainting the community with the environmental vision of your business is pivotal today. It serves as a defining push for enhancing the company’s image in the eyes of customers, partners, and potential investors.

Reducing Dependence on Energy Grids

Regardless of the nature of the business, energy independence is important. For example, in the restaurant business, it’s challenging to prepare succulent lasagna without gas and light; for the owner of a network of shopping centers where cash registers don’t work or products spoil without refrigerators, it’s simply maddening.

Installing commercial solar panels in Chicago gives you control over electricity supply. This means you won’t be bothered by disruptions in the grid, and the presence of backup batteries will even accumulate excess energy resources.

Installation of Commercial Solar in Illinois Step-By-Step

Hopefully, we’ve convinced you that commercial solar in Illinois offers numerous advantages for your business. Savings, stability, elevated company status, and environmental responsibility make solar energy a wise investment decision.

Let’s consider the five main stages of commercial installation. Regardless of whether you run a large-scale enterprise or own a small business, understanding these stages will help you envision the entire process and prepare for its successful execution.

Step 1– Potential Assessment

The amount of daily sunlight in Chicago exceeds average levels, giving solar panels a huge potential. However, this is only if your roof is tilted correctly: 35° is considered the optimal angle for solar panels.

Next, you should analyze your company’s energy consumption. You can review utility bills for at least three months to determine the average and ensure the correct sizing of the solar system.

Step 2 – Design and Permitting

Developing a detailed solar system project tailored to business needs is a crucial stage that determines the feasibility of the investment.

To ensure accurate calculations, it’s advisable to hire an architect or a specialist from a commercial solar company Chicago. With their expertise, you’ll survey the area, roof shape, etc., to determine the type of installation – ground-mounted or rooftop. The expert will optimize the placement of solar panels for maximum light exposure.

Step 3 – Commercial Solar Panel Installation

Professional commercial solar contractors in Chicago will need no more than three weeks to install a small-scale system. Installation for large enterprises (especially rooftop installations covering the entire perimeter) may extend up to a month. The primary tasks include securely installing solar equipment and connecting the system to the electrical grid.

To avoid unforeseen circumstances and expedite installation, it’s advisable to enlist the services of a local solar company. They are better acquainted with climate peculiarities, energy supply, and state solar requirements in your area.

Step 4 – Monitoring

Commissioning marks the final stage. Before utilizing the commercial solar installation Chicago, it’s essential to configure and test the solar system. Your solar energy provider will conduct a thorough system inspection. Subsequently, they will liaise with the responsible utility company to ensure you receive a permit for connecting the solar system to the Chicago grid.

Optionally, you can install a monitoring system to track the performance of your system. This is a good solution for large commercial solar panels since monitoring each panel (when there are hundreds) can be challenging.

Choosing the Right Provider for Commercial Solar in Chicago

Many commercial solar projects in Chicago are time-consuming and complex, requiring careful planning and execution. This is why it’s important to select a reliable installer company carefully.

Here’s what you should pay attention to before making a decision:

Experience Make sure the solar energy provider has experience with commercial projects similar to yours. Review the company’s portfolio, which should include examples of successfully completed projects and client testimonials.
Qualification Insist on a personal meeting with a representative of the provider to ask all relevant questions and ensure the necessary certificates and qualifications of engineers and installation teams.
Quality If you’re not purchasing the solar kit yourself but the company is supplying it, pay attention to the manufacturer. The efficiency coefficient shouldn’t be less than 15; the warranty should apply to both panels and other system components.
Price It’s best to contact several commercial solar companies in Chicago and obtain estimates from each. Comparing the total cost will guide you on which provider offers services at the most favorable price.

Looking for the right commercial solar provider in Chicago? Fill out this form to get your solar quote right away!

Financing Options for Commercial Solar In Illinois

Before investing significant amounts of money into a commercial solar system, we recommend monitoring opportunities for savings through government incentives. There are plenty of Illinois commercial solar incentives that will come in handy when it comes to financing.

Chicago PACE

Chicago PACE deals with commercial solar financing in Chicago and beyond, including existing and new commercial and industrial buildings.

Collaboration occurs in several steps:

Chigaco PACE work algorithm
Source: Hubspot

Solar Discount for ComEd Customers

ComEd (Commonwealth Edison Company) is one of the largest commercial solar companies in Chicago and other cities. By contacting their experts, you’ll receive a discount for your business, specifically $250 per 1 kW of installed solar energy.


  • Be a ComEd customer
  • Be the owner of a commercial or industrial project
  • Have solar panels with a capacity under 2000 kW

C-PACE for Commercial Solar in Chicago

C-PACE is a financing mechanism that provides capital to cover expenses for:

  • Maintenance
  • Upgrades in existing buildings
  • New solar construction

To participate, your business must not be a state or local government, must not pay property taxes, and must not have serious environmental cleanup issues. If you meet the requirements, fill out the form.

Is It Worth Considering Commercial Solar in Chicago?

Yes, yes, and yes again! Where else but in commercial solar Illinois, installing commercial solar panels is a superb option, as Chicago averages up to 189 sunny days per year! And state incentives and programs make investments more accessible.

More and more commercial solar companies Chicago Il are transitioning to solar energy, indicating the profitability and practicality of such a decision.

Considering commercial solar in Chicago? Don’t waste another second and get your solar quote by filling out this form!

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to install commercial solar panels in Chicago?

The cost varies as it depends on the size of the project and the complexity of the commercial solar system. Installing a solar panel will cost no more than $3 on average.

What is required to install commercial solar in Chicago?

First, conduct research on your energy needs and state incentives. Then, reach out to qualified providers and compare their offers. Once you’ve chosen the best one, hire installers for consultation, installation, and commercial solar interconnection.

How long does it take to recoup the investment in commercial solar in Chicago?

A commercial solar project will generate net income in at least 6 years. This is a good indicator, considering its service life of up to 30 years.