Solar panels Illinois:

Prices, incentives and best companies 2020

Avg IL solar panel cost:

$9,425 - $11,519*

Avg 25 year savings:

$42,584 - $52,047

Avg payback period:

5.4 - 6.6 years

Estimate cost and savings based on your location and power usage

* Cost data based on quotes for fully-installed solar panel systems submitted on our platform. Prices are shown after applying the 26% federal tax credit.

Illinois solar panels guide 2020

Updated November 3, 2020

Illinois is a great place for homeowners to install solar. The combination of net metering, the federal tax credit, and the solar renewable energy credit program makes going solar a viable and attractive option for residents of the Prairie State.

On this page:

Solar power prices, savings and payback in your part of Illinois

The average cost for an installed residential solar system in Illinois is currently $11,397 after claiming the 26% federal solar tax credit. This is $2.57 per watt. However, there is some variance in solar prices in different parts of the state. The graph below shows the average cost of installed solar systems in your part of the state.

Cost range of local prices

$9,425-$11,519

Net profit (savings less system cost)

$42,584-$52,047

Payback period

5.4-6.6 years

Recommended size for the selected utility bill

5.1kW

Solar panel cost calculator

Cash flow graph based on cash purchase of a 5.1kW system

Are solar panels worth it in Illinois

Solar panels have fallen in price by more than 80% in the last ten years. In 2020 they also remain subsidized by the 26% federal tax credit and the net metering law, making them an excellent investment. They offer a return well above the long term average return from both the share market and also property investment.

Another way to look at this question is the levelized amount you will pay for each kWh of power you will use over the next 25 years with and without solar panels. As you can see below the savings are significant.

Levelized cost of solar energy
?
Levelized cost per kWh is the cost of the solar system divided by the total number of kWh produced by a solar system over it’s lifetime

7¢ /kWh

If you don't get solar

28¢ /kWh

(forecast avg Illinois electric rates over the next 25 years)

IL solar panel cost calculator

Illinois solar incentives & tax credits

Federal solar tax credit

The most significant incentive to install solar panels for homes and businesses is the federal tax credit. Right now, the federal tax credit is equal to 26% of the total installed costs of installing a solar system. At the end of 2020, the amount of the credit will fall to 22%. This means that in order to maximize your savings potential, the best time to go solar in Illinois is now.

Another key incentive for going solar is Illinois is the state’s SREC program, which puts extra cash directly in your pocket!  By entering your address into the Illinois solar panel calculator above, you can find out how much a solar panel system will save you.

Net metering

Illinois has a state-wide net metering policy that requires utilities to offer credits equal to the retail rate of electricity to customers in exchange for excess energy their solar system exports to the grid.

Property tax exemption

Illinois does have a property tax exemption for solar panel systems. When you install solar, you can apply for a special assessment of your property. You can register your property with the chief county assessment officer who will then assess your property in two ways: 

  • Assess the value of the property if it had a conventional energy system; and 
  • Assess the value of the property with the solar system.

 

You will then pay your taxes based on whichever property assessment is lower. 

Table 2: Available incentive programs
Eligibility: Federal incentive
Type: Personal Tax Credit
Eligibility: State incentive
Type: Property Tax Incentive

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Top models of solar panel installed in Illinois 2020

Average cost of solar panel installation in Illinois by system size

System size*
Cash purchase

(After tax credit)

Financed purchase

(After tax credit)

4kW $11,204 $11,988
5kW $13,420 $14,359
6kW $15,402 $16,480
7kW $17,780 $19,025
8kW $20,560 $21,999
9kW $22,374 $23,940
10kW $24,590 $26,311

Best solar companies in the main cities of Illinois

Different types of solar companies

Solar company reviews

Home solar basics

Is it better to lease or buy solar panels in Illinois

You will save most money by buying your solar system rather than leasing it. Read more about the pros and cons of leasing vs buying solar.

How long do solar panels last?

Minimum of 25 years but generally 30 or more

How do solar panels work on a home?

Solar panels power your house when they can but your home uses the utility company for power at other times. In 2020 "solar systems with battery storage" are becoming more popular. These are known as hybrid systems.

How do solar panels work?

Grid-tied solar system

Solar panels are mounted on your roof and wired together in groups called solar arrays. The power they generate flows into a solar inverter, where the direct current (DC) is converted into alternating current (AC). The electricity is then either used by your home or exported to the electric grid.

Off-grid solar system

Off-grid solar power involves meeting all your energy needs from the sun; there’s no utility to fall back on. The solar installation needs to power your home not just during the day, when the sun is shining, but after dark as well. This requires many solar panels, paired with a large battery system.

Hybrid solar system

In hybrid solar systems, rooftop solar panels are connected to both a solar battery and the electric grid. This reduces your reliance on the utility while also providing backup power when needed. Battery storage is still expensive but you may be able to reduce costs by using state incentives.

Read more about types of home solar systems.

Do solar panels require regular maintenance?

No, but cleaning them can improve power generation if they are dirty.

Will residential solar power system cost fall in Illinois in 2020?

Given this environment, and the effect of import tariffs placed on solar panels by the Trump administration during 2018, it is hard to see that solar power system prices in Illinois will fall during 2020.

How much electricity do solar panel systems generate in Illinois?

Depending on the location, solar panels will generate different amounts of electricity.

A solar system that is installed on a south-facing 30-degree pitch roof Illinois will generate 1,150kWh of peak DC (direct current) capacity per year per 1kW in Illinois.

Enter your details into the solar panel calculator to see how your location, roof tilt, and roof direction impacts solar panel production.

What are the pros and cons of installing solar panels in Illinois?

The biggest advantages in Illinois for installing solar panels are the adjustable block SREC program and the 26% federal tax credit. 

Illinois also offers net metering, which helps solar homeowners save on their utility bills.

The disadvantage to installing solar panels in Illinois is that there is little in the way of utility rebates or incentives for solar system owners. However, the falling cost of solar makes up for the few incentives.

Enter your details to calculate the cost and savings you are likely to get from installing solar panels for your home.

What you can learn from our state solar panel calculator

This solar calculator requires you to input your address, utility company, your average monthly power spend - it tells you:

If you want to see all of the above but also see live pricing, the three best solar deals available in your city and get binding quotes from each of these solar companies then use this Illinois solar panels calculator. This calculator requires you to also input your name and contact details because most of our 200+ installer partners will only authorize the sharing of their live solar pricing where we have validated that you are a real homeowner with a home in their service area. We respect the privacy of your data and only share your contact details with the solar companies you ask us to get binding quotes from.

Note: Please keep in mind that the best source of up-to-date information on incentives are the solar installers who specialize in your area.

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