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  • Written by
    Max Peterson
  • Fact Checked
  • Updated

Chicago homeowners are increasingly using solar panels to generate energy and heat their water. If you're thinking about going solar, you might be concerned about costly initial investments. By partnering with a skilled installer, you'll have both the economic and technical support you need for success. On this page, we'll highlight Chicago's premier solar contractors and give expert advice for your solar journey.

Most Reputable
Blue Raven Solar logo
4.4/5

Ratings are based on our detailed proprietary methodology and review standards.

  • Offers high-efficiency panels and storage options
  • Provides unique in-house financing options
  • Recognized as one of the most reputable solar companies
Best Solar Panel Leasing
Sunrun logo
4.4/5

Ratings are based on our detailed proprietary methodology and review standards.

  • Provides system monitoring
  • Offers diverse financing options for various budgets
  • Provides EV and solar battery solutions

10 Best Solar Companies in Chicago

Brands are algorithmically curated from a database of local service providers near you. We require a minimum number of Google reviews and average ratings for provider inclusion.

Top Rated Provider
FreeWorld Solar Logo
Top Rated

FreeWorld Solar

4.7/5

Ratings are based on our detailed proprietary methodology and review standards.

Based on 38 reviews


1212 N Ashland Ave 2nd floor, Chicago, IL 60622

(312) 585-7761

www.freeworldrenewables.com
RxSun Logo

RxSun

4.5/5

Ratings are based on our detailed proprietary methodology and review standards.

Based on 78 reviews


2211 N Elston Ave Suite 208, Chicago, IL 60614

(800) 607-9786

rxsun.com
WindSoleil Solar and Wind Energy Services Logo

WindSoleil Solar and Wind Energy Services

4.5/5

Ratings are based on our detailed proprietary methodology and review standards.

Based on 42 reviews


401 N Trumbull Ave # D, Chicago, IL 60624

(224) 307-4057

www.windsoleil.com
Ailey Solar Electric, Inc. Logo

Ailey Solar Electric, Inc.

4.4/5

Ratings are based on our detailed proprietary methodology and review standards.

Based on 38 reviews


1965 W Pershing Rd, Chicago, IL 60609

(773) 492-1294

aileysolar.com
Windfree Solar Co Logo

Windfree Solar Co

4.4/5

Ratings are based on our detailed proprietary methodology and review standards.

Based on 78 reviews


5022 W Foster Ave, Chicago, IL 60630

(312) 588-6953

www.windfree.us
JD Pro Electric Inc Logo

JD Pro Electric Inc

4.7/5

Ratings are based on our detailed proprietary methodology and review standards.

Based on 90 reviews


9230 Grand Ave, Franklin Park, IL 60131

(847) 916-2052

www.jdproelectric.com

Atlas Solar Advisors

4.7/5

Ratings are based on our detailed proprietary methodology and review standards.

Based on 18 reviews


3152 W Devon Ave STE 2D, Chicago, IL 60659

(847) 773-7555

atlassolaradvisors.com
93Energy Solar Logo

93Energy Solar

4.6/5

Ratings are based on our detailed proprietary methodology and review standards.

Based on 28 reviews


4517 Oakton St, Skokie, IL 60076

(773) 791-2070

www.93energy.com
Green Power Works Inc Logo

Green Power Works Inc

4/5

Ratings are based on our detailed proprietary methodology and review standards.

Based on 20 reviews


6124 N Milwaukee Ave #3, Chicago, IL 60646

(773) 794-8888

greenpowerworksinc.com
Illinois Solar Express, LLC Logo

Illinois Solar Express, LLC

4.7/5

Ratings are based on our detailed proprietary methodology and review standards.

Based on 30 reviews


1 Mid America Plaza 3rd Floor, Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181

(773) 876-7676

illinoissolarexpress.com

Ranking Methodology

We assessed dozens of Chicago solar providers, using the following criteria to determine the best:

  • Professional licensure and experience: Each provider on our list complies with state and city licensing requirements and stays up to date with industry best practices. Many of them have served the Chicago community for a decade or longer.
  • Educational programs and business model: Solar technicians must be excellent teachers. They should utilize their years of experience answer your questions on how to care for your system and maximize its performance.
  • Customer feedback and reviews: Most Chicago solar companies have both positive and critical reviews. However, a good review ratio indicates a company's trustworthiness and responsiveness to issues.
  • Warranty and service offerings: Solar providers should stand behind their systems and services with warranties. We evaluated how each company responds to issues and warranty claims, focusing on promptness and customer satisfaction.
  • Panel quality and brand offerings: The top solar companies keep up with new technology, offering equipment from cutting-edge and trustworthy manufacturers.

Facts about Chicago

  • Average Max Temperature:
    57°F
  • Solar Payback Period:
    19 years
  • Average Daily Sunlight:
    52%
  • Homes Powered by Solar:
    5,897
  • Average Annual Energy Bill:
    $1,156
  • Solar Power per Capita:
    1.3%

Benefits of Solar Energy

Solar energy offers multiple benefits. Here are some highlights.

  • Reduced carbon footprint: Using clean solar power means you're less dependent on fossil fuels, which emit harmful greenhouse gasses.
  • Better energy independence: Solar panel systems with battery backups and storage systems operate through blackouts and emergencies, and you won't have to depend on the electrical grid for your safety and comfort.
  • Lowered energy bills: With solar panels, you produce power without paying the tacked-on costs of grid-connected power. You can eliminate your bills completely if you go off-grid. Plus, a significant amount of states offer net metering, which permit you to earn money by selling your unused energy back to the grid.

What Solar Incentives Are Available to Chicago Homeowners?

Illinois' public agencies and power companies offer a variety of solar incentives to help minimize your solar system costs. Below is a breakdown of eligible solar programs where you live.

Incentive Type:Property Tax Incentive

Incentive Amount:

Varies

How To Choose the Best Solar Company in Chicago

The more comprehensive your company investigation is, the better your solar installation will ultimately work. Make your choice based on the following essential elements.

Licensing and Training

In Illinois, the state Commerce Commission regulates distributed generation energy contractors, including residential solar contractors. Solar installers can also obtain certificates from standards organizations and trade groups. The top ones in the industry come from the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners. Most company websites will prominently display earned credentials, but you should also ask your estimator for more information.

Cost of Solar Panels in Chicago

Your solar modules' style will influence how much energy you can produce. Monocrystalline panels are among the highest quality and cost the most but perform the best. Polycrystalline panels offer you a budget panel with a traditional design, but at the cost of less power generation. Thin-film panels are excellent for non-traditional roof shapes and cost the least, but don't work well for large residential installations.

Additional components, such as electric vehicle (EV) chargers and battery storage, will add to your overall installation costs. However, they might make your solar system more efficient and convenient to use. Not every solar contractor offers these optional components, so look for a provider that sells them if it's essential for you.

You can plan to spend about $18,800 on average for a five-kilowatt solar energy system in Chicago. Check the table in this section to get an idea of how much Chicago solar companies might quote for your specific solar system's price.

Solar Panel CostAverage Cost
Solar Monocrystalline$1,191
Solar Polycrystalline$929
Thin-Film$543
Solar Battery$762
Solar Home EV Charger$2,858

Financing Solar Energy in Chicago

There are numerous ways to pay for a new solar system, and the right one will lower your costs. A few of the most common options include cash payments, loans, power purchase agreements (PPAs), and leases. Most solar experts recommend a cash payment or using a solar loan. Cash payments demand a large up-front sum, but they save you from paying interest, grant you system ownership, and qualify you for cost-saving solar incentives. Solar loans have the same benefits, though you'll pay more in total due to interest and fees. Much like an auto or home loan, you'll pay a set monthly rate with as little as $0 down. Solar leases allow you to rent your panels for a set monthly rate, while PPAs let you pay only for the energy you use, akin to an electric bill. Both options disqualify you for solar incentives and do not provide you system ownership. Solar experts generally don't recommend them, but they might be suitable in some cases. Ask each business you're vetting about the payment options it offers. A team member can help you determine the most suitable option for your pocketbook.

The table below lists the average payback periods for different capacities of solar systems in Chicago.

A 26% federal solar tax credit applies to new home solar systems purchased through 2032. Additional incentives may be available through local governments, usually in the form of rebates and special financing programs.

Solar System CapacityEstimated Payback period
1 kW2.8 years
2 kW5.5 years
5 kW13.8 years
10 kW27.6 years

Frequently Asked Questions about Solar in Chicago

Sources

To share feedback or ask a question about this article, send a note to our Reviews Team at reviewsteam@thisoldhousereviews.com.

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