Solar Panels in Chicago – Everything You Need To Know

Solar panel block installed in Chicago

Illinois might not be at the very forefront of solar electricity generation in the United States, but its heart of  Chicago has tremendous solar potential, averaging 189 sunny days per year – only marginally less than the national average of 205 sunny days.

Long story short, you only need around $15,000 to $20,000 to install a 6-kilowatt solar panel system in Chicago that fully covers the needs of an average home. The payback period is around 10 to 15 years, and the net savings are around $10,000 to $15,000 within two decades. No wonder solar installation in Chicago is so popular.

Solar Panels Chicago in a Nutshell

Roof Size Solar Panel Capacity Electricity Output
518 square feet 7.25 kW DC 8,300 kWh AC per year


Read on to learn more about:

  • Nuances of solar panel installation in Chicago, IL
  • How solar panel cost in Chicago is calculated
  • The best solar panel installers in Chicago

Without any further ado, let’s dig into the intricacies of solar installation in Chicago, IL, and our shortlist of the five best solar energy companies in Chicago.


Ranking Factors Behind the Best Solar Companies in Chicago, IL

With well over 300 solar companies in Illinois, it takes more than just expertise to screen through the challengers and develop a shortlist of solar installers in Chicago that match the demands and expectations of a specific customer – YOU.

On top of manual screening, we use advanced machine learning algorithms that perform preliminary data collection and analysis. Next, the pre-screened, pre-scored solar companies in Chicago are reviewed manually, and the best of them are served based on your request.

Here are some crucial factors we use to rank solar companies in Chicago:

Compliance We only provide solar energy companies in Chicago compliant with the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) and follow major building and electrical codes, such as the National Electrical Code (NEC).
Product Quality All the recommended solar installers in Chicago are of the highest product quality. For this complex quality evaluation, we use a mix of field data – previous solar panel performance – and customer feedback, reviews, and ratings.
Pricing & Financing The more flexible the pricing and financing options, the higher the company’s ranking in our list. We prioritize solar panel installers in Chicago that enable loans, leases, PPAs, incentives, rebates, and other options that make purchasing a solar panel system financially comfortable.

Solar Panel Price in Chicago, IL

Solar panel cost in Chicago ranges from around $15,000 to $20,000 for a 6-kilowatt installation, or around $2.5 to $3.33 per watt. The good news is that the average solar panel price in Chicago has decreased by over 300% in the last ten years, and the price will surely fall even more as more efficient solar technologies and materials emerge.

Here’s an overarching perspective on the solar panel price in Chicago:

Graphic of the change in solar system cost by provider
Source: EcoWatch

Solar Panel Cost in Chicago, IL: Key Components

Solar Panel Type and Size Monocrystalline silicon panels are the most durable, efficient, and expensive, while polycrystalline and thin-film panels are cheaper and less efficient. Likewise, the bigger the size of the panel system, the greater its power capacity and the more expensive it is. For example, the price of a thin-film solar panel can be as low as $1 per watt.
Equipment Quality Even panels of the same type and power—for example, two allegedly identical monocrystalline panels—can differ in construction materials and equipment. Differences in encapsulation materials, the type and thickness of glass, connectors, coatings, and countless other nuances affect a panel’s price.
Installation Complexity The easier it is to install a solar panel system, the lower the installation cost. The main installation complexity factors are roof design, orientation, sun exposure, durability, size, and accessibility.
Permits & Inspections Permit and inspection feed will add up to the total solar installation cost. In Illinois, you can get a residential permit for $168 and a commercial permit for $320 on top of the Development Services fee of $6.70 per $1,000 of the construction cost, with a $50.00 minimum.


Last but not least, different solar panel installers in Chicago charge different prices for the same solar panels because of a number of objective and subjective factors: real and perceived quality of solar panels, installation costs, warranties, financing options, brand strength, and profit margins.

And this is where our expertise kicks in.

We rigorously sieve through hundreds of local and nationwide solar energy companies to create our state-focused lists of the best solar panel providers. Likewise, we collect exhaustive request details so we can choose the most cost-effective solar panel for a specific client—YOU.

Get Your Free Solar Quote in Chicago

The 5 Best Solar Companies in Chicago, IL

SolarWerks – Chicago-Based Solar Installer

SolarWerks solar panel company

SolarWerks has been a local solar company in Chicago since 2008. It is led by Pawel Buch and Dan Litvin, both of whom have over 20 years of experience in the industry.

The company provides a wide range of services for residential and commercial solar panels, including solar design, audit, and even solar air and water heating. For a free estimate, contact SolarWerks at (888) 412-9040 or through the website form.

SunPower – Nationwide Solar Energy Provider

SunPower solar panel company

SunPower is a leading nationwide solar energy provider focusing mainly on residential solar panels and EV charging solutions. Unlike aspiring solar panel installers in Chicago, SunPower has already proven its exceptional class with 40 years of successful service and over 15,000 five-star reviews across the United States.

Schedule your appointment with SunPower

FreeWorld Solar – Chicago-Based Solar Installer

FreeWorld Solar - solar panel company


FreeWorld Solar is a Chicago-based full-service company that covers the residential and commercial solar segments. Like most local solar companies, it provides custom solutions that resonate with your needs, wants, and budget.

Request a free solar estimate with FreeWorld Solar at (312) 698-9102 or complete the website form. In addition to upfront payment, the company works with solar loans and leases.

The Chicago – Chicago-Based Solar Installer

The Chicago solar panel company

The Chicago is a local solar company that provides residential and commercial solar services, including solar panel installation and maintenance. The website is minimalistic, except for the exhaustive FAQ section with answers to the most burning questions of solar customers.

Learn more by contacting them at (312)-779-1550 or filling out the form on the homepage.

Atlas Solar Advisors – Chicago-Based Solar Installer

Atlas Solar Advisors solar panel company

Atlas Solar Advisors is a local solar energy company in Chicago that provides cost-effective solar panels, energy audits, solar system design, and permitting. It’s worth noting, however, that their website is quite minimalistic, not allowing one to get the full picture of the offering (and thus the last place in this shortlist).

Request your free solar quote with Atlas Solar Advisors at or through this website form.

Are Solar Panels Worth It in Chicago, IL?

According to Forbes’s 6-factor evaluation of the worst and best states for solar energy, Illinois is ranked 19th—and it’s hard to disagree. Both the state and its biggest city receive ample sunlight and favorable local incentives, such as Illinois Net Metering.

A major contrarian factor is the cheap electricity ­­­– $1,668 per year versus the national average of $2,340 – but it doesn’t outweigh Chicago solar incentives and other benefits of installing a solar panel system in this state, whether residential or commercial. On top of that, solar panels are getting cheaper over time: by 2030, the solar PV cost might drop to a laughable $340 per kilowatt.


Truth be told, there are very few states where solar panels won’t shine, with the most famous outliers being South and North Dakota. However, it’s not only the lack of sunlight that makes these states unattractive but also the lack of in-state and nationwide solar incentives. For example, New York has way more solar opportunities despite receiving roughly the same amount of sunlight.

Solar in Chicago: Local vs. National Solar Installers

It’s only natural that locals will gravitate towards Chicago IL solar companies, and rightfully so. Solar installers from your area usually have a better understanding of the local regulations, permits, and incentives, not to mention customer service might be quicker.

However, it would be a bit far-fetched to say local solar installers in Chicago are the only viable choice. In fact, it’s all about your priorities and risk tolerance: price versus brand, price versus features, price versus customization, and so on.

But you don’t have to guess – request your personalized free quote in Chicago to discover your solar panel price and connect to your best solar panel provider.