Exploring the Cost of Solar Panels in Illinois

Solar energy is a growing trend, and Illinois offers a wealth of incentives to make it an attractive option. However, with so many factors to consider, from navigating permits to maximizing financial benefits, installing solar panels in Chicago, Illinois, may seem daunting.

From cost-saving benefits to environmental impact to choosing the perfect Chicago solar installers and navigating financial incentives, this article will explore everything you need to know about the cost of solar panels in Illinois and how to make this purchase more affordable.

Solar Panel Cost in Chicago

Multiple factors directly impact the average cost of solar panels in Illinois. The system’s size is a major driver here. Larger systems with more panels are pricier than smaller options. The next crucial factor is continuous energy usage, as you should pick systems that perfectly suit your specific energy needs. Even if two solar panels in Chicago, Illinois, are the same size, the more powerful option will have a higher price tag.

Beware that a complex ceiling requires additional work. If you need to modify the roof, the final cost of solar panels in Illinois may be higher than expected. Reputable installers with experience in your area might charge slightly more. Location permitting fees are another major consideration when choosing an eco-friendly power production option.

The system’s brand is the last factor that impacts the solar panel cost in Illinois. Premium options like Tesla may cost more than direct rivals. So, we recommend you choose wisely and pick those options that will fit your needs in the long run.

The average cost of solar panels in the United States is around $2.40 to $3.60 per watt. The price of solar panels in Chicago, Illinois, is the same as in other Midwest states. So, if you want to order the standard 5-7 kW system, it will cost you approximately $15,000-18,000. If you need more powerful panels or multiple batteries, the final cost may rise to roughly $25,000.

Chicago Solar Incentives

Chicago residents can lower the cost of solar panels in Illinois by using multiple incentives. These include the federal tax credit (ITC), Illinois Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SRECs), ComEd Solar Rebates, and Chicago Solar Express stimuli.

Federal Tax Credit

The federal tax credit is the most well-known initiative to make this investment more affordable. The Inflation Reduction Act expanded the federal solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) to 30% for solar systems installed between 2022 and 2032.

This credit reduces the upfront cost of solar panels in Chicago, Illinois. If you install them in 2033, the credit will be 26% and 24% in 2034. The initiative will end on Dec 31, 2024, unless Congress renews it.

Suppose the credit amount exceeds your tax liability in a given year. In that case, you can carry the remains of this solar power Chicago credit forward to future tax years until it’s fully used.

You can claim the ITC if you own the system. You won’t be eligible for the credit if you lease a solar system. However, you can ask chosen Illinois solar energy companies whether they are eligible. If yes, you can use it to recalculate your monthly payments.

Illinois Shines

The state of Illinois provides a program called the Adjustable Block Program, also known as Illinois Shines. It’s an initiative that encourages the active usage of solar panels in Chicago, Illinois. Through it, you can earn one SREC for each megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity your solar system produces over 15 years.

Each SREC is a tradable certificate representing the environmental benefits of generating 1 MWh of solar electricity. You can sell your SRECs to electricity providers who need them to comply with RPS requirements.

This solar energy Illinois program can create an additional revenue stream from your solar panel system. Also, the ability to earn SRECs adds value to your solar investment, potentially making your home more attractive to buyers in the future.

The payout for SRECs from your Chicago solar panels typically occurs in one of two ways: lump sum or annual payments. The lump sum is available for smaller residential and commercial systems under 25 kW (AC); the SREC payment is often made in a single lump sum. Larger systems ranging from 25.0 kW to 5,000 kW (AC) receive SREC payments annually over seven years.

ComEd Solar Rebates

ComEd, one of the largest utility companies in Illinois, offers rebates for residential and commercial customers who decided to switch to solar in Chicago. These rebates can help reduce the upfront cost of a solar system:


Residential Illinois solar panels rebate It’s $300 per kilowatt (kW) of the system’s direct current (DC) capacity. A typical residential system size (around 5-6 kW) translates to a rebate of $1,500 to $1,800.
Commercial rebate It’s $250 per kW for systems under 100 kW DC capacity. So, for a 30 kW system, the rebate for solar in Illinois will be approximately $7,500.


ComEd also offers a separate rebate for installing solar energy storage systems with solar panels. The rebate for this solar power in Illinois matches the solar panel system rebate (i.e., $300/kW for residential and $250/kW for commercial).

Accepting the ComEd incentive might affect your participation in the net metering program. As of today, there are two net metering options for Chicago solar panels:

  • Subsection (d) of Section 16-107.5 (full or 1:1 net metering). This offers credits for the full retail value of the electricity your Illinois solar panels produce that flows back to the grid.
  • Subsection (n) of Section 16-107.5 (net metering with reduced credit value). You can enroll in this option if you accept the ComEd solar rebate for solar panels in Chicago, Illinois. The credits you receive for excess electricity will have the value of wholesale electricity, which is lower than the retail rate.

This solar panel Chicago rebate helps offset the installation cost. However, you might receive less valuable credits for the excess electricity your system produces.

Carefully consider the impact of the ComEd solar rebate on your net metering benefits. If maximizing your bill savings through net metering is a priority, you might be better off without this Illinois solar power rebate.

Chicago Solar Express

It’s an initiative launched in 2013 by the City of Chicago to streamline and simplify the process of installing rooftop solar panels. The program aims to cut down permitting times from 30 days to just one or two days. This significant reduction in bureaucracy in the Illinois residential solar sector made the installation much faster and less frustrating.

The Chicago Solar Express program also reduced permitting fees for qualifying solar projects. It lowers the cost of solar panels in Illinois, making eco-friendly power even more affordable.

The program established a clear and consistent zoning policy for solar photovoltaic (PV) systems. The best Illinois solar companies use this information to speed up approval.

Why Consider Solar Panels in Chicago, Illinois?

Skeptics say that solar panels in Chicago, Illinois, may not benefit you in the expected way. But we can prove them wrong. You still get enough energy to power your house during cloudy winter days. You can also sell excessive energy in summer to get net metering credits that you can use in winter to lower your bills.

Federal, state, and local incentives can substantially lower the upfront cost of solar panels in Illinois. For instance, net metering can reduce or even eliminate electricity bills, so you won’t depend on your local utility company as much.

By generating clean energy to power your home, you can reduce your reliance on the grid. Illinois solar companies can make you fully independent by providing advanced battery storage solutions. In addition, you can minimize greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change by generating clean energy with solar panels in Chicago, Illinois.

While solar panels do not directly impact property taxes, homes with solar panels often attract a higher market value. Home solar panels in Illinois increase your property market value by up to 5-10%, which can be significant for many households.

Meanwhile, the high upfront cost makes this investment quite overwhelming for many people. The roof’s sustainability is another affecting factor. If you redo it, the final price for your solar panels in Chicago, Illinois, will increase. Despite some challenges, it’s a worthwhile investment that pays off in the long run.

Finding the Best Solar Panel Installation Companies in Chicago

The independent search for a reputable solar installer is a time-consuming process. We can help you to shorten it. Use this directive to fasten the process:

  1. Define your needs. Analyze your average and peak energy usage throughout the last 2-4 years to determine the appropriate system size. Check the roof’s sustainability and determine the approximate budget for Illinois solar installation.
  2. Get quotes from multiple companies. Don’t settle for the first quote you get. Get quotes from at least three or four different Chicago solar companies. It will give you a good idea of the going rate for solar panels in your area.
  3. Ask Illinois solar companies about their experience. How many years have they been working?  Do they have experience installing solar panels in your area?
  4. Determine the included warranties. The solar system should have a warranty both for panels and the inverter.
  5. Ask about the company’s financing options. The average cost of solar panels in Illinois starts from $10,000-$15,000. Meanwhile, there are many ways to ease the funding, from government incentives to rent and lease. The reputable Chicago solar company should provide you with all the options to determine which suits you best.
  6. Сheck company reviews. Take a closer look at 3* and 4* reviews, as they provide information about potential challenges with solar panel installation in Illinois.
  7. Get everything in writing. Before signing a contract with an Illinois solar company, make sure you get everything in writing. This includes the cost of solar panels in Illinois from this team, the included warranties, and the financing terms.

Looking for affordable solar panels in Chicago, Illinois? Don’t waste another minute and get your free solar quote right away!

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens if my Illinois solar panel produces more electricity than I need?

Most Chicago utility providers support net metering, meaning you can sell electricity to them. In return, you’ll get credits to lower electricity bills. You can also use systems with external batteries to store this energy at night. Ask your Illinois solar installer to place storage systems that suit your needs.

What are the most common solar installers in Illinois?

There are dozens of solar energy companies in Chicago. Some of the most well-known are RxSun, All Energy Solar, SunPower by Sun N Us, Blue Raven Solar, and Tesla Solar. These five businesses are often considered the top solar companies in Illinois.

How much do solar panels in Illinois cost to maintain?

Solar systems require very little maintenance. Clean them from dust and debris every 5-8 months and have a professional inspection every 3-5 years. It will cost less than $300-400. Common malfunctions are covered by solar energy companies in Illinois, so you don’t need to spend that much on repair, either.

Do Chicago home solar panels increase property taxes?

No, it won’t directly increase your property taxes. Illinois exempts the increased value due to installing a solar energy system from property tax assessments. So, solar panels in Chicago, IL, can add value to your home, but that increased value won’t be reflected in a property tax bill.

How to find the best solar company in Illinois?

Figure out your needs, including energy usage and potential budget. Get multiple quotes from Chicago solar panel companies. Evaluate these offers and ask detailed questions, including the estimated production, permits, and incentives. Don’t base your choice on price when choosing solar energy companies in Chicago. Consider additional factors like warranties, customer service, and post-installation support.