Top 6 Best Solar Companies in Illinois (2023 Reviews)

In this guide on Illinois’ top solar installation companies, you’ll learn:

  • What are the top solar installers in Illinois?
  • What are the most important factors to look for in a solar installer in Illinois?
  • Is DIY solar installation better than hiring a professional in Illinois?
Find local solar quotes
Get Quote
Connect with approved [category] installers in your area.

What are Illinois’ Top 6 Solar Energy Companies?

Illinois is home to nearly 100 solar panel installation companies, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).1 With so many options to choose from, deciding which company in your area is right for your solar project can be a challenge.

We’ve done extensive research on the top solar installers in Illinois, so a lot of the hard work is done for you already. Below, we’ll list what we believe are the best solar panel companies available in Illinois based on local needs, average system costs in the state and more:

You can click the drop-down menus below to get more information about each of these companies. There, you’ll find detailed information as to why we chose these providers for IL residents looking to convert to solar.

Badge icon

GRNE Solar

Outstanding Regional Installer

Regional Service

EcoWatch rating

Average cost

Pros

  • Representatives are experts on local policies
  • Comprehensive service offerings
  • Excellent reputation

Cons

  • Limited brands of solar equipment available
Badge icon

Windfree Solar

Outstanding Local Installer

Local Service

EcoWatch rating

Average cost

Pros

  • Excellent reputation
  • Outstanding workmanship

Cons

  • Slightly limited service area
  • May be overqualified for residential systems
  • No leases or PPAs
Badge icon

Sun Badger Solar

Outstanding Regional Installer

Regional Service

EcoWatch rating

Average cost

Pros

  • Offers products from leading manufacturers
  • Competitive pricing
  • Offers rewards for customer referrals

Cons

  • No leases or PPAs
  • Relatively young company
Badge icon

StraightUp Solar

Outstanding Regional Installer

Regional Service

EcoWatch rating

Average cost

Pros

  • Certified B Corp
  • Full-service home energy solutions
  • Representatives are experts on local policies

Cons

  • Limited service area
  • No leases or PPAs
Badge icon

ADT Solar

Best Warranty Coverage

Regional Service

EcoWatch rating

Average cost

Read full review now

Pros

  • Industry-leading warranty coverage
  • Expansive service area

Cons

  • Some reported communication issues
  • No leases or PPAs
Badge icon

SunPower

Best National Provider

Nationwide Service

EcoWatch rating

Average cost

Read full review now

Pros

  • Most efficient panels on the market
  • National coverage
  • Cradle to Cradle sustainability certification
  • Great warranty coverage

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Customer service varies by local dealer

How To Save Money When Hiring A Solar Installer In Illinois

best solar installers illinois
Credit: anncapictures / Pixabay

Going solar is expensive. On average, the cost of going solar in Illinois is $14,333 for a 7.5 kilowatt (kW) system after the federal tax credit. Without the credit, you’re looking at an average of $20,475. The reason for the high price tag is, in part, an above-average cost per watt. IIllinois residents pay around $2.73 per watt for panels, while the U.S. average is $2.66.

Overall, solar power systems in Illinois cost less than they do in most other states because energy needs are lower than average, so the total system size required is also below average. Still, paying nearly $15,000 for any home improvement can be hard to swallow. Below are some tips for saving money on your system when choosing a solar installer.

  • Choose a company that provides robust warranty coverage
  • Choose an experienced company that is well-versed in local solar benefit programs
  • Choose an installer with high-efficiency panel offerings
  • Avoid solar batteries and reconsider companies that push them

Choose an Installer with Good Warranty Coverage

The most significant thing you can do to keep your long-term costs down in the Midwest is to choose a company that offers robust warranty coverage.

Illinois residents see extreme weather regularly, including tornadoes, intense thunderstorms and above-average precipitation. The tornadoes in Illinois, specifically, are known to cause massive property damage.2 The extreme weather events in the area can all contribute to panel damage, which means lengthy coverage can help you avoid paying for costly repairs.

Workmanship warranties are also great to have, as they help ensure that the installation is done properly. This is crucial in IL because the sometimes-excessive rainfall can put your roof at an elevated risk of leaking if the panels are installed improperly.

Take Advantage of Illinois Solar Incentives

Next, we recommend you choose an experienced installer that has been completing installations in Illinois, specifically. The Prairie State has quite a few solar perks available, and companies that are familiar with the area are more likely to help you take advantage of these benefit programs. Ultimately, they can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

In the chart below, we’ll provide a list of some of the available solar rebates and incentives in Illinois.

Incentive Description
Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) The federal solar ITC is a credit to your income tax burden for 30% of your entire system value, including the cost of labor, panels, inverters and batteries. In IL, this credit averages out to $6,143, making it the most crucial incentive to take.
Illinois Shines Program This is a Solar Renewable Energy Certificate (SREC) program. You earn credits for all solar production, and you can then sell those credits for a profit to help pay down your panel cost.
IL Solar for All Program This is a financing option for low-income households. It lets prospective customers install solar for no money down. They would then pay a nominal fee over time for the energy produced.
Net Metering This policy lets you overproduce energy with your panels and then use those extra kilowatt-hours (kWh) to pay down future utility bills. Solar net metering is one of the best incentives in the country, as it helps reduce your panel payback period and lets you take full advantage of all the electricity you generate. IL residents get access to great net energy metering terms: full retail value for all excess energy and credits that roll over for up to a year.
Solar Property Tax Exemption This is a property tax exemption that prevents the value that your panels add to your home — around 4.1% of your home value, on average — from pushing your tax bill higher.3
ComEd Solar Rebate This is for customers of Commonwealth Edison (ComEd) only. It’s a cash back perk of up to $250 per kW of solar capacity installed. The average rebate in IL is $1,875.

Choose an Installer With High-Quality Panel Brands

You can also save money over time by choosing a company that offers quality, high-efficiency solar panel brands. These include SunPower — the most efficient — REC, Tesla, Panasonic, Q Cells and more.

PV panels usually pay for themselves by generating electricity that offsets your electric bills. Therefore, the more power your panels produce, the more of your energy bills they’ll offset and the more they’ll save over time.

High-efficiency panel brands are especially useful in Illinois because the state sees fewer sunny days than the national average. Getting an efficient solar panel brand that works on cloudy days will help ensure you see the maximum possible savings, even though your upfront costs can sometimes be higher.

Avoid Solar Batteries and Reconsider Companies that Push Them

Finally, you can keep your total system costs down by avoiding solar batteries. While energy storage solutions are often helpful in IL, given the high risk of power outages, they almost never pay for themselves like panels do.4

Batteries are worth the thousands of dollars they cost in states where robust net metering isn’t available. In those cases, they let you take full advantage of the energy you generate and maintain reduced energy bills even when production is low — like on cloudy days or at night.

Since this policy is mandated in IL and provided at the full retail cost for energy, installing a battery backup likely won’t increase your savings at all. Companies that push batteries (in Illinois at least) are probably less reputable and more interested in profit than helping you reduce your carbon footprint and enjoy the benefits of solar power.

illinois solar companies 2022

Read Also: Calculate How Much You Can Save By Going Solar

Will Solar Increase Your Home Value In Illinois?

Yes! Installing solar panels is expected to raise your home value by around 4.1%.5 In IL, where the average home value hovers around $270,000, that’s an expected value bump of $11,070.6

Home values in IL have also risen by over 10% in the past year, and they are expected to climb in the future. That means the value added by your panels should increase over time, making your investment more and more valuable.

It’s worth mentioning that this value increase and return on investment is usually most significant in high-cost areas. The cities below are some of the most expensive in IL, so customers in these areas will also see the greatest home value benefit.

  • Kenilworth
  • Chicago
  • Springfield
  • Winnetka
  • Glencoe
  • Hinsdale
  • Rockford
  • Golf
  • Wilmette

Should Illinois Residents Hire a Professional Solar Installer Or DIY?

It’s sometimes tempting to consider a DIY solar panel installation, mostly because the cost of installing panels yourself is much lower than hiring a professional would be. Unfortunately, the cost savings associated with a DIY installation aren’t always as appealing as they seem.

Below, we’ll list a few reasons why we typically recommend going with a professional for your solar conversion. We’ll also explain each of these in the sections below.

  • DIY panels have inferior warranties in most cases
  • DIY installations are at higher risk of roof leaks
  • DIY panels aren’t as efficient

DIY Panel Warranties Aren’t the Best

DIY solar kits usually come with equipment warranties that last for up to five years. In contrast, professionally-installed systems often get protection for up to 25 years. Plus, they can come with workmanship and efficiency warranties as well.

Warranty coverage is one of the most crucial things to consider in IL because of the extreme weather. Tornadoes, intense thunderstorms and heavy rainfall can all contribute to panel and roof damage. You might save money installing your own panels, but you could end up paying more in the long run if you have to replace or repair damaged or underperforming equipment.

DIY Solar Installations Leave Your Roof at Risk of Leaking

Roof leaking is one of the most common issues reported after solar installation. Even professionals who have years of history in the industry often can’t guarantee that your roof shingles will never leak because of the penetrations created during panel installation.

Homeowners who choose to install their own panels are, of course, even less experienced and are more likely to make mistakes. This leaves DIY installations at a higher risk of roof leaks. This is an especially prominent issue in IL, where the rainfall is above the national average.

You will pay less upfront for a DIY installation, but roof repairs and water damage mitigation over time could end up costing you far more in the long run.

DIY Panel Efficiency Is Lower than Professional Systems

Finally, DIY panels almost always have a lower efficiency rating than panels available to professional installers. Efficiency is an important consideration not only because it determines your long-term savings but also because solar equipment costs more per watt in IL than in most states.

With an above-average cost per watt, you can save more money than most U.S. residents by choosing a high-efficiency panel. A brand like Maxeon gives you the best chance of needing fewer panels to meet your energy needs, which means you could end up paying less in total for your solar panel system.

What Should Illinoisans Look For in a Solar Installer?

There are a few things that are important to look for in an IL solar installer that can help you get the most out of your system. We’ll list these below and explain in the following sections why each is so important.

  • Robust and lengthy warranty coverage
  • Years of company history and experience
  • Coverage area

Warranty Coverage

The number one thing we recommend looking for in an IL solar installer is robust warranty coverage.

Physical protection is the most important, in our opinion, because it provides peace of mind and a lower risk of needing costly repairs or system maintenance. Unfortunately, these are required more often in IL than in most other states because of the extreme weather.

We also recommend considering workmanship warranty coverage. A company that guarantees that its installation techniques won’t lead to issues for years afterward is far more likely to leave you with a system that doesn’t lead to expensive roof leaks. Again, this is important in IL, specifically, because of the above-average precipitation.

Years of Experience

Next, we recommend looking at how long the company you’re considering has been in business and, specifically, how long it has been serving IL.

The Prairie State is home to quite a few appealing solar incentives, and taking advantage of them could mean saving hundreds or, more likely, thousands of dollars. A company that has years of local experience is more likely to be familiar with the incentives and help you take as many as possible to keep costs down and savings up.

Inclusive Coverage Area

Finally, it’s important that you consider each company’s service area. IL is home to nearly 100 installation companies, many of which are small and serve just a portion of the state. Before you dive into researching a company and requesting a free quote, you should ensure that you fall within its service area to save time.

Methodology: How We Ranked Illinois’ Solar Installers

When we’re ranking solar providers to recommend the best of the best to you, we look at a bunch of different factors that can have an impact on your overall experience. In IL, we prioritize the characteristics below:

  • Warranty coverage
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Industry Affiliations

Warranty Coverage

The extreme weather in IL means that warranty coverage is an absolute must for protecting your system from damage. We always give precedence to companies that provide robust and lengthy warranties, specifically for equipment.

We also love to see performance warranties, as these help maximize your long-term savings, as well as workmanship warranties, which are a clear sign your installer’s techs know what they’re doing.

Customer Satisfaction

Next, we look at positive and negative customer reviews to get a sense of how satisfied the majority of each company’s customers are. In an area like IL, where the local solar demand is increasing rapidly, many companies pop up just to take advantage and turn a profit. These providers often leave customers dissatisfied with poor communication and overall service.

We look for companies that maintain a high BBB rating and good consumer reviews, and those that often get referral business from customers. B Corp certification is another plus in our book, as it shows that the company is committed to providing quality service.

Industry Affiliations

When narrowing down the best solar installers near you, we keep an eye out for distinctions and affiliations that reflect a reputable status within the industry.

For example, employing NABCEP-certified technicians or holding membership in the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) are good signs of a reliable company. We also like to see that installers are certified to install equipment from top solar brands.

While these affiliations don’t guarantee good service, they do signify that a company cares about the environment and the solar industry as a whole. This gives you a better-than-average chance of getting high-quality service.

Read More About Going Solar in Illinois

FAQ: Best Solar Companies Illinois

Below, we’ll answer some of the most common questions we see from IL residents about the prospect of going solar.

Blog author image
Article author
Karsten is an editor and energy specialist focused on environmental, social and cultural development. His work has been shared by sources including NPR, the World Economic Forum, Marketwatch and the SEIA, and he is certified in ESG with the CFA Institute. Before joining EcoWatch, Karsten worked in the solar energy sector, studying energy policy, climate tech and environmental education. A lover of music and the outdoors, Karsten might be found rock climbing, canoeing or writing songs when away from the workplace.
Reviewer image
Expert reviewer
Melissa is an avid writer, scuba diver, backpacker and all-around outdoor enthusiast. She graduated from the University of Florida with degrees in journalism and sustainability studies. Before joining EcoWatch, Melissa worked as the managing editor of Scuba Diving magazine and the communications manager of The Ocean Agency, a nonprofit that’s featured in the Emmy award-winning documentary Chasing Coral.

Comparing authorized solar partners

EcoWatch rating
Average cost
Pros
Cons
BBB Rating
Year founded
Service Area
Brands of Solar Equipment Offered
Warranty Coverage
  • 4.5
    • Representatives are experts on local policies
    • Comprehensive service offerings
    • Excellent reputation
    • Limited brands of solar equipment available
    A+
    Outstanding Regional Installer

Having trouble deciding? Click below and use our process to receive multiple quotes instead:

Get My Solar Quote