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Best 5 Solar Companies in Chicago, IL

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Written By Max Peterson | Last Updated: February 05, 2024

Chicago homeowners are increasingly using solar panels to produce their electricity 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 companies and provide valuable advice for your solar journey.

Most Reputable
4.4
  • 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
4.4
  • Provides system monitoring
  • Offers diverse financing options for various budgets
  • Provides EV and solar battery solutions

Top Chicago Solar Companies

Windy City Solar Group Logo

Windy City Solar Group

4.7/5
Based on 90 customer reviews.

Services Offered

Tailored Solutions Integrated Roofing Expert Panel Installation Business Installations Residential Panels Home Installations

Highlights

  • Clear pricing policy
  • Free quotes
  • Reliable customer support
1546 Cuyler Ave, Berwyn, IL 708-737-8114 windycitysolargroup.com
Ailey Solar Electric, Inc. Logo

Ailey Solar Electric

4.4/5
Based on 33 customer reviews.

Services Offered

Consultation Residential Panels

Highlights

  • Reliable customer support
  • Informative resources
  • Clear pricing policy
1965 W Pershing Rd, Chicago, IL 773-492-1294 aileysolarelectric.com
WindSoleil Solar and Wind Energy Services Logo

WindSoleil Solar and Wind Energy Services

4.4/5
Based on 48 customer reviews.

Services Offered

Energy Efficiency Audit Off-Grid Solar Systems Battery Storage Commercial Panels Residential Panels

Highlights

  • Clear pricing policy
  • Informative resources
  • Reliable customer support
401 N Trumbull Ave # D, Chicago, IL 224-307-4057 windsoleil.com
Windfree Solar Co Logo

Windfree Solar Co

4.4/5
Based on 73 customer reviews.

Services Offered

Residential Panels Consultation Commercial Panels

Highlights

  • Informative resources
  • Reliable customer support
  • Free quotes
5022 W Foster Ave, Chicago, IL 312-778-8859 windfree.us

More Local Solar Companies

JD Pro Electric Inc

User Reviews: 4.7/5 

9230 Grand Ave
Franklin Park, IL 60131

RxSun

User Reviews: 4.2/5 

2211 N Elston Ave Suite 208
Chicago, IL 60614

Atlas Solar Advisors

User Reviews: 4.7/5 

3152 W Devon Ave STE 2D
Chicago, IL 60659

93Energy Solar

User Reviews: 4.6/5 

4517 Oakton St
Skokie, IL 60076

Green Power Works Inc

User Reviews: 4.1/5 

6124 N Milwaukee Ave #3
Chicago, IL 60646

Illinois Solar Express, LLC

User Reviews: 4.7/5 

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

Unity Solar Group

User Reviews: 4.1/5 

1111 22nd St ste 240b
Oak Brook, IL 60523

Kapital Electric, Inc.

User Reviews: 5/5 

1270 Mark St
Bensenville, IL 60106

Rethink Electric

User Reviews: 4.5/5 

850 N Central Ave
Wood Dale, IL 60191

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

Ranking Methodology

Our team has researched dozens of solar companies near Chicago, emphasizing the following criteria:

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Facts about Chicago
Average Max Temp: 57°F
Solar Payback Period: 13.8 years
Average Daily Sunlight: 52%
Homes Powered by Solar: 5,897
Average Annual Energy Bill: $1,156
Solar Power per Capita Percentile: 48.0%

Expert Tips By

This Old House empowers homeowners with the knowledge and tools they need to tackle various projects and navigate the complexities of homeownership.

Benefits of Solar Energy

Solar energy offers multiple benefits. Here are some highlights.

  • Reduced carbon footprint: Utilizing solar is a surefire way to minimize your carbon footprint and home fossil fuel dependency.
  • Better energy independence: Solar systems with energy storage function through blackouts and emergencies, and you won't have to depend on the electrical grid for your safety and comfort.
  • Lower utility costs: Producing some or all of your own power will spend less on electricity long-term.

What Solar Incentives Are Available to Chicago Homeowners?

Illinois homeowners who decide on solar could qualify for rebates, special financing, reimbursements and tax credits. Here are just a few of the region's incentive offerings.

Incentive Type: Property Tax Incentive

Incentive Amount:

Varies

Incentive Type: Rebate Program

Website: comed.com

Incentive Amount:

Appliances
Air Purifier: $50
Clothes Washer: $50
Dehumidifier: $50
Electric Clothes Dryer: $50
Freezer: $50
Refrigerator: $50
Room Air Conditioner: $25

Refrigerator/Freezer Recycling: Free pickup and $50, plus an additional $10 if recycling a room A/C at the same time
Heating & Cooling
Air Source Heat Pump: $400 - $600
Central A/C: $300 - $600
Ductless Mini-Split Heat Pump: $400
Geothermal Heat Pump: Up to $6,000/home
Furnace Blower Motor (ECM): $50 - $100
Miscellaneous
Advanced Power Strip: $10
Air Sealing: Up to $400/home
Attic Insulation: Up to $300/home
Duct Sealing: Up to $500/home
Lighting: In-store discounts, varies
Pool Pump: $275
Smart Thermostat: $100
Wall Insulation: Up to $400/home

Incentive Type: Green Building Incentive

Website: cityofchicago.org

Incentive Amount:

50% of Building Permit Fee amount up to $25,000. Varies by project type and sector.

Incentive Type: Solar Renewable Energy Credit Program

Website: icc.illinois.gov

Incentive Amount:

Negotiated with procurement administrators

Incentive Type: Personal Tax Credit

Website: ecowatch.com

Incentive Amount:

30% federal tax credit for systems placed in service after 12/31/2021 and before 01/01/2033. Good for: solar water heat, solar photovoltaics, biomass, geothermal heat pumps, wind (small), fuel cells using renewable fuels.

How To Choose the Best Solar Company in Chicago

The price and efficiency of solar panels often depend on the solar company that mounted them. Consider each of these criteria in your business search.

Licensing and Training

In Illinois, the state Commerce Commission licenses distributed generation energy contractors, including solar contractors. Solar providers can also earn accreditations from standards organizations and trade groups. The most recognized 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

The kind of solar panels you choose decides how much energy you can generate. Monocrystalline panels cost more but give you the best performance. Polycrystalline panels work with a tried-and-true mechanism and cost less, but produce less power. Thin-film panels aren't meant for large home installations, but they're excellent for small projects like sheds and RVs.

You can also add electric car (EV) chargers and battery backup systems. These will increase your total project price, but they can boost your solar system's efficiency. Not all solar contractors provide these additional features, so look for a contractor that installs them if it's essential for you.

A majority of Chicago homeowners choose solar systems sized for five kilowatts (kW) of electrical capacity. These systems run about $18,800 to install, considering both materials and labor. You can see more specific cost information in the table.

Solar Panel Cost Average 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

Choosing the best financing plan will impact your overall solar system cost and expected savings. Common payment options include cash payments, loans, leases, and power purchase agreements. Though it requires a large up-front payment, cash is the most cost-effective choice because it qualifies you for solar incentives and doesn't accrue interest. Solar loans are the second most effective option. As with a car loan or mortgage, you'll pay a monthly rate towards system ownership, including interest. You can still apply for valuable solar incentives, and depending on your lender, you could put as little as $0 down. Solar leases allow you to pay a monthly rate to rent your panels, while a PPA lets you pay a variable rate based on only the energy you use. We generally don't recommend these options since you will not have ownership of your system and are disqualified from solar incentives, but they might be appropriate in particular circumstances. We suggest working with a contractor that offers multiple financing options. Speak with each salesperson about what's available, and get more than one estimate for the best odds of staying within your budget.

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

You are eligible for a 26% federal tax credit for new solar power systems until the year 2032. City and state officials and utility companies might also offer discounts, rebates, and dedicated financing plans that could save you more.

Solar System Capacity Estimated Payback period
1 kW 2.8 years
2 kW 5.5 years
5 kW 13.8 years
10 kW 27.6 years

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Frequently Asked Questions About Solar in Chicago

How much energy and money could I save per year by switching to solar?

On average, Chicago homeowners pay around $1,156 per year on electric bills. Once you pay off your solar array, you could reduce your costs by $699.94 per kilowatt you produce.

How common is solar energy in Chicago?

Yes, solar energy is gaining popularity in Chicago. Some homes already generate solar power on-site or through utility grids, and they're supported by a state solar economy with 5513 jobs and counting.

Will a solar PV system improve my Chicago home price?

Yes, solar energy systems will increase your property value. According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), for every dollar you save on energy bills, your home value rises by $20. So, if your panels save you $600 per year on energy costs, your property could appreciate $12,000.

Could I still use solar power if I live in a wooded, rainy, or dark area?

Even if you live in one of Chicago's few dark areas, you could still benefit from solar energy. Your installer will optimize your system's performance by choosing the proper site for panels, positioning them to capture the most sunlight throughout the year, installing a battery backup system, and cleaning them regularly. This way, you can keep solar energy longer and use it as necessary.

How do I care for my new solar system?

Solar panels don't need much upkeep to keep working well. All you'll need to do is inspect and clean the panels every six months or as necessary in dusty seasons. Solar companies frequently offer maintenance packages to help you in your system's care.

What is the average payback period for Chicago solar panels?

Most Chicago homeowners pay back a solar loan in 18.8 years. You can shorten the payback period by paying off extra loan principal each month.

What are some "red flags" to watch for as I research companies?

Even the most respected Chicago solar companies will have both favorable and unfavorable reviews. To make the most informed selection possible, focus on these signs to know if a company isn't worth your attention:
  • Aggressive sales pitch
  • Being evasive about training and credentials, references, cost and warranties
  • "One-size-fits-all" approach
  • Superficial, rushed site evaluation
  • Limited customer feedback

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

Sources