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Solar Panels in Chicago 2021: Cost, Companies & Installation Tip

Based in the city on top of Lake Michigan in Illinois, Chicago solar companies abide by the same rules as the rest of Illinois. The state’s insistence on becoming energy conscious has led to the availability of different incentives and programs for building solar-powered homes. Let’s take a detailed look.

This article will cover

  • Chicago Solar System Installation Costs
  • Incentives, Tax Credits & Rebates For Chicago Solar Panels
  • What To Look For When Installing Solar Panels In Chicago
  • Top 7 Solar Energy Companies in Chicago

solar chicago

Chicago Solar System Installation Costs

If we look at how much you have to spend on a cost-per-watt basis to install solar panels in Chicago, the range is somewhere from $2.60 to $3.52, with the latter being the highest limit. On average, for 5KW, the charges are usually around $2.70. In total, the average cost tends to range from $6,772 to $23,421 (3kW to 10kW solar system ).

solar panels chicago cost
Solar installation costs do not include the Federal Investment Tax Credit or local incentives. (Data source: local solar companies)

The main price is not the only thing that should influence your decision before installing a solar panel on your roof. You should also take the payback period into account.

By this, we mean the amount of time it would take for what you have invested in the installation to return to you as savings for doing away with high electric charges. On average, in a state like Illinois, the time it takes for the initial, huge amount for installation to be worth it is about nine years. The same applies to Chicago.

Before you buy solar panels, you might also want to check your payment options. The state has been doing its best by offering incentives to homeowners so that going solar becomes a possibility for everyone.

It would be ideal to pay upfront with cash, as it takes lesser time for you to see the return for investing in solar panels. Regardless, if you can’t purchase right now, there are still many solar loans and lease options you can look into. [Leasing vs. Buying Solar Panels: Weigh All Your Options]

Before you buy an installation system, you will want to sit down with your chosen solar company and evaluate your payment options. You want to be certain what the ultimate installation charges will be and if there are ways to reduce that cost.

There’s also the federal tax credit that applies to your purchase. You want to look beyond that for other options and incentives the city of Chicago and the state of Illinois provides for you.

You might also want to sit down with more than one company on what kind of panel would be right for your home. Keep all your options open until you find the best one for you.

Average solar panel cost in Chicago

System size

Avg system cost

Avg system cost
(after tax credit)

3 kW

$9,150

$6,772

4 kW

$1,2485

$9,239

5 kW

$1,6350

$1,2099

6 kW

$1,9840

$1,4681

7 kW

$2,1780

$1,6117

8 kW

$2,5690

$1,9011

9 kW

$2,8130

$2,0816

10 kW

$3,1650

$2,3421

Incentives, Tax Credits & Rebates For Chicago Solar Panels

Illinois has some incentives that a solar panel-running homeowner can avail of. This applies to citizens of Chicago, too. However, you need to first be aware of all the following tax exemptions and incentive schemes before you can make full use of them.

Net Metering

how Net Metering works

The net metering policy of Illinois is state-wide, so Chicago naturally falls under it. Under this policy, for the extra electricity your solar system produces and exports to the company’s grid, the utility office has to offer you credit.

The retail value of this credit should be the same as the retail value of electricity in the state. Later, the credit can be cashed in if your solar system does not produce enough electricity.

Federal Tax Credit

solar Federal Tax Credit

No matter how many incentives a state might have for a solar energy system, nothing beats the profit you get from the Federal Tax Credit system. The tax credit means that for the total cost it takes to install solar panels in Chicago in your home, you can reduce the cost by 26 percent. Since there are talks of reducing the credit to 22 percent, this might be the ideal time for you to go solar.

Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs)

In between all these incentives, we can’t forget one of the key ways Chicago has encouraged citizens to go solar. Under the SREC program, you get direct cash for turning your home into a place that runs on renewable energy.

how srec work

Tax Exemption On Property

Yes, having solar panels in your Chicago house will get you tax exemption on your property. At the time of your installation, you can request that your property is assessed for exemption based on whether you have solar panels or a regular electricity connection. First, go to your Chief county officer to register your property. After registration, the person in charge will inspect your property.

Two types of inspection will take place. If your property runs on conventional energy, what would be the value of the property, and if it runs on a solar system, what would be the value. Then, your tax exemption is determined based on the assessment that turns up lower in value.

What To Look For When Installing Solar Panels In Chicago

solar panels chicago

Due to Chicago’s varied climate, you should have a proper conversation with your chosen company before installation. A lot depends on the position of your house and how much sunlight it receives.

Local Climate

As a resident of Chicago, you must already be aware of how cold the city can get. From December to February, the weather is so harsh, and it’s almost always snowing. The peak sun hours dwindle to 1.5 at most. June to August, it can get quite hot and humid. While the humid weather is not favorable for sun hours, if it’s dry hot, your solar system can produce a good amount of electricity.

Sunny Days In Chicago (1981-2020 normals)

Month

Hours of sunshine

Total days with sun

January

126

19

February

142

20

March

199

19

April

221

15

May

274

19

June

300

20

July

333

22

August

299

23

September

247

22

October

216

23

November

136

20

December

118

21

Annual

2611 hours

243 days

Peak Hours

Do you know about peak sun hours? In 1 peak sun hour, intense sunlight averaging 1,000 watts in energy is supposed to reach one square meter. In simpler terms, the peak sun hours are when a place receives the most concentrated amount of sunlight. Some states have this sunlight for a longer period than others.

On average, the peak hours for Illinois are estimated to be 3 to 4 hours. We all know about Chicago’s colder weather. Its northern latitude alignment means that during the winter season, the sunlight decreases a lot. Over half the year, the peak sun hours tend to be less than 4.

solar energy chicago

The state might not receive the most sunlight throughout the year but it’s still better than Florida, which experiences fewer cloud-free days leading to lesser peak sun hours.

The Solar Panel’s Direction And Angle

This is something you have to discuss with Chicago solar companies. If your solar panel system is not angled in the right direction, it will have a harder time collecting energy from the sun to turn it into electricity. Thus, have a deep conversation with your installer regarding whether fitting solar panels in your house’s roof will let you save up in the long run.

Top 7  Solar Energy Companies in Chicago

solar power chicago

1. Windfree Solar Co

Windfree Solar Co

Windfree is known for its professional but friendly demeanor towards customers. Highly skilled installers with proper qualifications and good work experience ensure that they select the solar panels that are best suited for your home. Most importantly, they appear to do a spotless and meticulous job while installing.

Location: 5022 W Foster Ave, Chicago, IL 60630

Phone: 312-588-6953

 

 

2. YellowLite

YellowLite solar

Yellowlite doesn’t have an installation team under them but appears to have contractual installers. The teams working with them are all praised by customers for doing a clean and single-day job, even on big projects. The company is also highly praised for its honesty over the installation charges.

Location: 512 N McClurg Ct Suite 2207, Chicago, IL 60611

Phone: 630-296-6307

 

 

3. WindSoleil Solar and Wind Energy Services

WindSoleil Solar and Wind Energy Services

WindSoleil goes the extra mile by taking care of all the needs of its customers. From permits to the federal tax credit, they handle the entire process for you so you can save up by a lot. They are also completely transparent about the entire process.

Location: 401 N Trumbull Ave # D, Chicago, IL 60624

Phone: 224-307-4057

 

 

4. Earth Wind & Solar Energy LLC

Earth Wind & Solar Energy LLC

You can find this company at 4831 W Wilson Ave, Chicago. Their designs are modern and top-notch. Surprisingly, the prices are quite competitive for the quality of the design. Both the teams in charge of paperwork and handling installation are respectful professionals.

Location: 4831 W Wilson Ave, Chicago, IL 60630

Phone: 312-243-9933

 

 

5. Moxie Solar

Moxie Solar

The company promises to never back-bill their customer, and they do more than deliver on their word. Friendly installers and knowledgeable staff all work together to create a warm atmosphere. They will install solar panels not only for your home but any office you might have.

Location: 2101 W Carroll Ave Suite 100, Chicago, IL 60612

Phone: 312-736-0404

 

 

6. SolarWerks, LLC

SolarWerks, LLC

On 2817 N Lakewood Ave, Chicago, the installers of SolarWerks are known for their punctuality. They will install the solar panels in a short amount of time and also take care of all the debris. For a relatively new company, they seem to have already acquired everyone’s faith.

Location: 2817 N Lakewood Ave, Chicago, IL 60657

Phone: 773-354-6363

 

 

7. Headline Solar

Headline Solar

Diligent installers from Headline Solar follow the guidelines and rules properly, so you don’t have to face any problem later as a solar homeowner. The knowledgeable staff is more than happy to answer all your queries.

Location: 111 S Wacker Dr #56, Chicago, IL 60606

Phone: 847-262-9302

 

Final Thoughts

Illinois’ amazing incentive schemes for its citizens mean even a city like Chicago can have some advantage from going solar. Even with lesser sunlight in the area throughout the year, when the peak hours do hit Chicago, it can be profitable for solar panel homeowners.

 

solar panel installation chicago

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