Solar Panel Cost in Illinois [2022 Guide - Updated]

In this EcoWatch guide on the solar panel costs in Illinois, you’ll learn:

  • What you can expect costs to look like
  • How the federal and local government can help with financing
  • What the Illinois Shines SREC system is
  • How going solar in Illinois compares to other states

Our guides have helped thousands of homeowners begin producing clean energy for their homes. We will equip you with the knowledge for how to best do so based on your financial situation. Let’s get started!

Ecowatch Author Karsten Neumeister

By Karsten Neumeister, Solar Expert

Updated 5/17/2022

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Find Cost Savings on Solar in Illinois

Jump to Section:

  1. Solar Panel Cost in Illinois
  2. Factors of Solar Panel Costs
  3. Solar Incentives in Illinois
  4. Cost Comparison of Leading Solar Panel Providers
  5. FAQs

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What is the Cost of Installing a Solar Panel System in Illinois?

Most solar panel systems are sold according to a price per watt, the average of which in Illinois is $2.73, which is above the national average of $2.66. Given that the average home in the area requires around a 7.5-kW system to eliminate its electric bills — which hover around $93 per month — the average cost of going solar in Illinois is around $15,152 after the federal tax incentive.

The cost of installation is higher than the national average, as is the estimated payoff time. The cost of electricity throughout the state is low, meaning it will take you longer than average to let savings pay off the cost. This is unless you live in Chicago, where electricity rates are far higher and payoff time is much shorter.

The cost to install a solar system in Illinois can vary by more than $10,000 from home to home. There is a price range for many reasons, but the biggest factor when it comes to the cost of your system is its size. Solar panels are typically sold on a per-watt price basis, so the larger your system is, the more expensive it will be. The average cost per watt in Illinois is $2.73, which means every additional kW will increase your total by approximately $2,730.

In an area like Illinois, where cold temperatures demand more power to heat your home and the available sunlight is about average for the country, a 10-kW system is typically needed. If your home is more or less efficient than most, smaller or larger than average or uses more electricity than a typical home, your cost can be quite a bit higher or lower than the average.

The table below offers pricing before and after the federal tax credit is accounted for of systems ranging from 5 kW up to 11 kW.

Size of Solar Panel System Illinois Solar Panel Cost Cost After Federal Tax Credit
5 kW $13,650 $10,101
6 kW $16,380 $12,121
7 kW $19,110 $14,141
8 kW $21,840 $16,162
9 kW $24,570 $18,182
10 kW $27,300 $20,202
11 kW $30,030

What Determines the Cost of Solar Panels in Illinois?

There are many criteria that can vary your total installation cost above or below the average such as the equipment you choose, the financing options and the specific company that performs the installation. The latter will have the biggest impact on your average solar panel costs.

Solar Equipment

solar panel cost ILThe cost of installation a solar panel system in Illinois will depend, in part, on the equipment you choose to install. There are many different solar panels brands, each of which offers varying degrees of durability and energy efficiency and comes with a different price. Demand in Illinois is still lower than many sunnier states, so costs are a bit higher than the national average.

Some solar brands — like Maxeon from SunPower or Panasonic — are more costly upfront but also tend to offer better efficiency. In a state like Illinois, where sunlight isn’t as abundant efficiency can quickly pay off. If you have a small roof or limited space for your panels, higher efficiency options will be more costly but more impactful.

Additionally, the type of equipment you’re looking to install can affect your total cost. If you just need panels, your system will be far less expensive than installing solar PV panels, solar batteries, inverters and an electric vehicle charger.

Solar Financing

With the average cost to go solar in Illinois topping $20,000 before the tax credit, many homeowners throughout the state choose to finance the system. Financing makes going solar far more accessible by lowering the bar to entry, but it will almost always increase your cost over time due to the interest.

How much your solar loan spikes your total cost will depend on the loan your installer offers. For example, if you’re only able to secure a loan with a high interest rate, you’ll likely end up paying thousands of dollars extra in interest over the life of the loan. Opting for a higher down payment will reduce the total interest you’ll pay, or, of course, for a cash purchase for your panels is the most affordable option because you’ll pay no interest.

Solar Installation Company

Finally, the solar panel installation company you choose will play a role in your total cost to go solar. Different companies will upcharge the equipment to varying degrees and charge different amounts for labor.

Larger national companies usually have lower costs, but some local companies undercut them by offering sales and discounts. While the smaller companies might not have specific equipment options (like Tesla Powerwalls) or additional services (like electric vehicle charger installation) they might be cheaper overall.

Additionally, not every company provides access to the same equipment. Solar installers that sell the highly efficient Maxeon panels from SunPower, for example, will typically come with a higher upfront cost. Although, in the long run, you might save money due to the higher efficiency.

Choosing the best solar company in Illinois that fits within your budget and offers the specific equipment you’re looking for is typically the best option.

Looking for a reputable solar company to provide you with an accurate cost estimate for your home? Check out our guide to the best solar companies in Illinois.

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What Solar Incentives Does Illinois Offer?

Going solar is sometimes prohibitively expensive for homeowners. Luckily, the local and federal governments offer a number of solar incentives in Illinois to make solar more accessible and lower the upfront and long-term cost of converting to solar energy. Below are the most significant incentives available to homeowners throughout the state.

Federal Solar Tax Credit For Illinois Homeowners

The federal government provides the federal solar investment tax credit (ITC) to all homeowners throughout the country, including those in Illinois. This is a rebate you’ll receive on your taxes in the amount of 26% of your entire cost for solar installation. At an average solar cost of $20,475 in Illinois, this amounts to a credit of $5,324, bringing your effective total down to $15,152.

The federal tax credit is 26% of your total if you install solar panels in 2022, but it’s scheduled to drop to 22% in 2023 and be eradicated for residential solar in 2024. It’s possible that Congress will renew the bill that provides access to the credit. However, there is no guarantee that it will.

Net Metering Policies in Illinois

Net metering is a billing option offered by many utility companies nationwide that incentivizes going solar. Basically, it involves power companies paying you or crediting your electric bill for any power you produce above and beyond your home’s energy requirements.

The net metering incentives vary from state to state, and Illinois has an excellent policy. Most utility companies in the area have a one-to-one payback, which means they’ll pay full retail price for any excess energy you produce. This provides a great opportunity to eliminate your electric bill because the excess is credited to your account for later use.

Some customers of companies like Commonwealth Edison can even get paid for overproduction, meaning the electric company will pay you instead of the other way around.

The strong net metering policies in Illinois make going solar more worthwhile, even though the upfront cost per watt is above the national average.

The below video puts some actual numbers behind this so you can see the real value of net metering.

Local Solar Rebates in Illinois

In addition to the federal solar tax credit and the appealing net metering policy, there are some local incentives available to reduce overall costs as well.

First, Illinois has set the lofty goal of producing 25% of its energy from solar by 2025. To reach this goal, the state started the Illinois Shines program that incentivizes residents with a robust Solar Renewable Energy Credit (SREC) system. For every 1,000 kilowatt-hours you produce in excess of what you use, you get one SREC, which you can sell to power companies for a profit. Each SREC is worth around $70.

Second, Illinois has instituted a Solar Property Tax Exemption. Installing solar panels almost always increases the value of your home if you buy them outright or finance them. In most cases, property value increases also lead to a bump in your property taxes. To avoid increased property taxes from dissuading homeowners from going solar, Illinois homeowners will not be taxed on the property value added by their solar energy systems.

Lastly, Commonwealth Edison (ComEd) offers a solar rebate to nonresidential solar customers in the amount of $250 for every kilowatt installed up to a 2,000-kW system. For commercial customers, this can amount to an incredible $500,000 rebate.

What are the Average Costs of the Leading Solar Providers?

There are a number of solar manufacturers producing panels and other solar equipment with varying efficiency, durability and price. Based on our review of the best solar panels available, the brands below are some of the more popular ones in the area and include a relative pricing model to help you decide which are likely to fit into your budget.

Panel brand Avg cost ($-$$$$$)
LG $$$
Canadian Solar $$$
JA Solar $$
Mission Solar $$
Panasonic $$$
Q Cells $$$
REC $$$$
Silfab $$$
SunPower $$$$$
Tesla $$$
Trina Solar $$$

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People Also Ask

FAQ: How Much Do Solar Panels Cost in Illinois?

The EcoWatch team receives plenty of questions from homeowners in Illinois. Below are some of the most common ones we see, along with our responses.

 

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Karsten Neumeister

Solar Expert

Karsten Neumeister is a solar energy specialist with a background in writing and the humanities. Before joining EcoWatch, Karsten worked in the renewable energy sector of New Orleans, focusing on solar energy policy and technology. A lover of music and the outdoors, Karsten might be found rock climbing, canoeing or writing songs when away from the workplace.