* Cost data based on quotes for fully-installed solar panel systems submitted on our platform. Prices are shown after applying the 30% federal tax credit.
Illinois is a great place for homeowners to install solar. For residents who might shy away from the idea of solar due to the high price tag, there are great programs that make installing solar panels more accessible than ever. On top of that, there’s a 30% federal tax credit, state-wide net metering, and a property tax exemption, so solar can be an option for anyone!
The average cost for an installed residential solar system in Illinois is currently $10,781 after claiming the 30% 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.
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Prices based on a 5.0kW system, after 30% federal tax credit
Solar panels have fallen in price by more than 80% in the last ten years. In 2022 they also remain subsidized by the 30% 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.
(forecast avg Illinois electric rates over the next 25 years)
The federal tax credit is the most significant incentive to install solar panels for homes and businesses. Right now, the federal tax credit equals 30% of the total installed costs of installing a solar system and can save you thousands of dollars on your federal income taxes.
Illinois has a state-wide net metering policy that requires utilities to offer customers credit equal to the retail rate of electricity in exchange for excess energy their solar system exports to the grid. Full retail net metering provides solar homeowners with the best electricity bill savings possible!
The Illinois Shines program, also known as the Adjustable Block Program, gives Illinois residents the potential to save big on the cost of solar installation. Under this program, you can earn between $66 and $82 for every megawatt-hour (MWh) of solar energy your panels produce, depending on where you live. If your panels generate 6 MWh of electricity, you can earn between $396 and $492 on top of your electricity bill savings!
Remember that the incentives' value decreases as more people join Illinois Shines. So, you'll want to install solar as soon as possible to get the maximum incentive!
Property tax exemption
Illinois does have a property tax exemption for solar panel systems. When installing solar, you can apply for a special property assessment. You can register your property with the chief county assessment officer, who will then assess your property in two ways:
You will then pay your taxes based on whichever property assessment is lower.
Illinois Solar for All Program (ILSFA)
The state offers the Illinois Solar for All Program incentive to make solar more accessible to low-income households, nonprofit organizations, and public facilities.
For most projects, your eligibility is based on your income. The program is geared toward those with a household income of 80% or less of the area median income. Different criteria are used to determine eligibility for nonprofit and public facilities.
Once accepted, you must pick an approved vendor and plan your project. Approved solar companies are required to ensure you see savings on your electric bills.
(After tax credit)
(After tax credit)
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.
Minimum of 25 years but generally 30 or more
Solar panels power your house when they can but your home uses the utility company for power at other times. In 2023 "solar systems with battery storage" are becoming more popular. These are known as hybrid systems.
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.
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 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.
Read more about types of home solar systems.
No, but cleaning them can improve power generation if they are dirty.
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 2023.
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.
The biggest advantage in Illinois for installing solar panels is the mandated net metering and 30% federal tax credit. The Illinois Shine program also offers huge savings for homeowners who go solar. The state’s commitment to making solar accessible through the ILSFA low-income is also a huge plus in our book.
The disadvantage of installing solar panels in Illinois is that state-wide incentives vary based on location and income, making determining what you qualify for difficult. Luckily, your solar installer can help you navigate what incentives you get.
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.