Solar Panel Cost Guide in Lake Forest, IL (Dec 2022)

  • Lake Forest Solar Installation Cost: $12,078
  • 25-Year Savings: $10,534
  • Payback Period: 13.4 Years

See cost of a solar system near you:

EcoWatch Local Advisors

By EcoWatch Local Advisors

Updated 11/09/2022

Why you can trust EcoWatch

We work with a panel of solar experts to create unbiased reviews that empower you to make the right choice for your home. No other site has covered renewables as long as us, which means we have more data and insider information than other sites. Our rankings are never affected by revenue or partnerships.

Average Cost of Solar Panels in Lake Forest

Let's take a look at the average cost of solar panels in Lake Forest.

Although the national average of solar panels is $2.66 per watt, solar panels in Lake Forest generally cost about $3. To account for the typical energy usage of the average home in Lake Forest, most homeowners require a 6.3-kilowatt system. Using the figure above, a solar installation costs around $12,078, or $8,938 after the federal solar tax credit of 30% is applied.

How much you pay can be higher or lower than the average in Lake Forest depending on a few factors, such as the type of solar panels you choose and the solar company you hire. With typical savings of about $14,000 on energy bills over 20 years, many homeowners in Lake Forest find investing in solar can be quite rewarding.

You can click the button below to get connected with a top solar installer in Lake Forest for a quote for your home.

Solar savings over time in Lake Forest

Year Return on Investment
1 years $-11,173
3 years $-9,364
5 years $-7,555
7 years $-5,746
9 years $-3,937
11 years $-2,128
13 years $-319
15 years $1,490
17 years $3,298
19 years $5,107
21 years $6,916
23 years $8,725
25 years $10,534

Top Solar Installers in Lake Forest

Many homeowners opt for a solar installer since installing solar panels by yourself can be challenging. Also, companies with an outstanding reputation that are more expensive upfront could actually save you money in the long term with their warranties, repair services and expert design.

You can work with a local solar installer to get a free quote on how much your investment in solar could cost for your home. Here are some nearby:

Best National Provider

SunPower

★★★★★
5.0

  • Most efficient panels on the market
  • National coverage
  • Cradle to Cradle sustainability certification
  • Great warranty coverage
  • Expensive
  • Customer service varies by local dealer

Best Solar Financing

Blue Raven Solar

★★★★★
4.5

  • Industry-leading in-house financing
  • Competitive pricing
  • Excellent reputation
  • Doesn't offer solar batteries (coming 2022)

Best Technology

Tesla Energy

★★★★★
4.5

  • Price-match guarantee
  • Sleek, efficient, and durable solar panels
  • Best solar battery on the market
  • Some reported issues with customer service
  • Customer service varies by local dealer

See all of the solar companies in Lake Forest

Factors that Affect Solar Panel Costs in Lake Forest

The cost of installing a solar system in Lake Forest can vary by more than $10,000 from home to home. Your actual cost is dependent on several factors. The most significant one is your system size, and other factors include the equipment you choose, financing options and the solar installer you choose.

Solar Equipment

The size of the solar system you need to offset your energy usage, which is measured in kilowatts, is the most significant cost factor to consider. For every additional kilowatt you need, you can expect your total to increase by about $2,730. The brand and type of equipment you choose for your solar system can increase or decrease the price quite significantly. If you prefer a trusted brand name like Tesla or SunPower, these often come at a higher price than other brands. Efficiency also matters. Whether you're opting for high efficiency because you have a small roof or just want maximum energy production, you will be looking at a higher equipment cost, but this can typically lead to more savings over time. Plus, if you want additional equipment like an electric vehicle charger or solar batteries, this will also raise the cost.

Solar Financing Terms

Many homeowners find the average cost of solar in Lake Forest to be prohibitively expensive, even if the investment pays off over time. Thankfully, nearly every solar company in the area provides access to financing options. Solar loans drastically decrease upfront costs for most homeowners, but they also lead to a higher cost over time due to interest. However, the interest on solar loans also increases your overall costs, so it's important to include that in your estimate as well. You can always reduce the total you pay in interest and in some cases even your APR by putting more money down.

Solar Panel Installation Company

Finally, the company you get to install your solar panels can impact how much it costs. Lake Forest's solar companies all have different labor costs and add varying upcharges to equipment. The company's size can sometimes play the most significant role in the cost of installation. Larger national companies, like SunPro and Sunrun, often have lower pricing because of greater resources and bulk pricing. Smaller local companies might be more costly, but they generally have better customer service and more customization options, and the occasional sale or discount can bring their pricing lower to compete with bigger names.

Solar Panel Cost Data by System Size

System size Cost per system watt Solar system cost 25-Year savings Payback period
6 kW $2.84 $11,925 $9,531 13.9 years
8 kW $2.78 $15,594 $13,014 13.6 years
10 kW $2.73 $19,110 $16,649 13.4 years
12 kW $2.68 $22,473 $20,438 13.1 years
14 kW $2.62 $25,684 $24,379 12.8 years
16 kW $2.57 $28,741 $28,473 12.6 years
18 kW $2.51 $31,646 $32,721 12.3 years
20 kW $2.46 $34,398 $37,121 12.0 years

How to Save on Solar Panels

The solar installer you go with will be a major factor in determining not only your total costs, but also the types of solar panel brands, warranties, and other equipment you can get. When choosing a solar company, there are several important things you should take into account, including:

  • Reputation: Your solar installer should have a sound reputation as a company and have demonstrated expertise in the field. A couple of ways to check this are to look for whether a company has technicians certified by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) and if it has positive reviews from past customers.
  • Solar Panel Brands: Each solar panel brand and kind has varying levels of quality, longevity and efficiency. They will come at different price points as well. The company you choose impacts which solar panel brands you have access to.
  • Warranty: Companies typically offer different types of warranties that provide different kinds of coverage. A 25-year, all-inclusive warranty is the gold standard.
  • Contract: When looking over your solar company's contract, ask questions about any terms you're not sure of and make sure you understand what happens in scenarios like a system component breaking or if the company goes out of business.

Best National Provider

SunPower

★★★★★
5.0

  • Most efficient panels on the market
  • National coverage
  • Cradle to Cradle sustainability certification
  • Great warranty coverage
  • Expensive
  • Customer service varies by local dealer

Best Solar Financing

Blue Raven Solar

★★★★★
4.5

  • Industry-leading in-house financing
  • Competitive pricing
  • Excellent reputation
  • Doesn't offer solar batteries (coming 2022)

Best Technology

Tesla Energy

★★★★★
4.5

  • Price-match guarantee
  • Sleek, efficient, and durable solar panels
  • Best solar battery on the market
  • Some reported issues with customer service
  • Customer service varies by local dealer

EcoWatch's Lake Forest, IL Solar Cost FAQs

What is the average cost of installing solar panels in Lake Forest?

This is a difficult question to answer precisely, because the cost depends on many factors. Broadly speaking, it costs about $13,650 for a 5-kW system and $27,300 for a 10-kW system after the ITC is applied. You can expect to pay more if you want additional solar equipment or higher quality panels, or if you have above-average energy needs. On the flip side, you can spend less if you opt for a smaller solar panel system or less expensive solar panels.

Are solar panels free in Lake Forest?

You can't get solar panels for free in Lake Forest. However, you may still be able to get them on a lower budget. You can lease solar panels for a low upfront cost or, if you want to own your solar panels, you can finance them with a solar loan.

Does Lake Forest have a net metering program?

The majority of states offer net metering programs of some kind. Through these, you can either be compensated for the extra power your system generates or or receive credits to put toward future electricity bills. Currently there are just three states that don't have any net metering laws: Alabama, Tennessee and South Dakota.

How long do solar panels last in Lake Forest?

Even though the average lifespan of solar panels is 25 to 30 years, that doesn't mean they are completely unusable at that time. What this means is their energy production will have decreased significantly after that point. You can choose to replace them after having them for that long or you can keep using them at a lower efficiency.

Our goal is to reach as many people as we can with sensible solutions like solar energy. Our team of full-time local researchers collects solar price and installation data for every city in America then compiles it to create these digestible city guides. If you want to read our solar expert's opinion on the top solar companies featured here, follow this link.

Company research was conducted by Melissa Smith and Karsten Neumeister. Local data analysis was conducted by James Savino. See something we missed or could do better? Email the editor.

Follow us