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 2022
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.
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.
Cash flow graph based on cash purchase of a
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
If you don't get solar
(forecast avg Illinois electric rates over the next 25 years)
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.
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.
Solar panels power your house when they can but your home uses the utility company for power at other times. In 2022 "solar systems with battery storage" are becoming more popular. These are known as hybrid systems.
How do solar panels work?
Grid-tied solar system
A grid-tied system is the most common type of solar system. It has no solar battery for backup power and utilizes net metering to maximize savings. Solar panels are mounted on your roof then wired together, and the power generated flows into an inverter where direct current (DC) electricity is converted into alternating current (AC) electricity. This electricity is either used by your home or is exported to the utility grid.
Hybrid solar system
In hybrid solar systems, rooftop solar panels are connected to both a solar battery and the electric grid. The solar electricity generated by your panels that your home does not use is stored in the battery instead of being sent to the grid, which 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.
Off-grid solar system
Off-grid solar systems are not connected to the grid at all, so all of your energy needs must be met by the sun. There is no utility to fall back on. The solar installation needs to power your home not only during the day, but after dark as well, so many solar panels and a large battery system are required. These systems are often expensive and don’t make sense for homes that have access to the grid.
No, but cleaning them can improve power generation if they are dirty.
Will residential solar power system cost fall in Illinois in 2022?
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 2022.
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
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.
Likely cost based on an average of prices charged for solar systems of that size in the last year in Illinois or
The likely payback period on your solar panels and your investment return.
Your total lifetime solar savings based on each of the major solar finance options, a cash purchase, a cash purchase funded with a HELOC (home equity line of credit) and a zero-down PPA or third party lease product.
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.