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The 4 Best Solar Companies in Illinois (2024 Guide)

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Author Image Written by Tamara Jude + 1 other Reviewer Icon Reviewed by Roger Horowitz Updated 04/17/2024

Going solar is a big investment, so it’s important to find a company that balances quality and price. We have extensively researched the top solar companies in the United States, comparing solar panel costs, services, and customer service reviews. We narrowed down our choices and compiled this guide to the best Illinois solar providers, from Chicago to Springfield.



Compare Solar Companies Across Illinois

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Illinois’s Top Solar Energy Companies:

Blue Raven Solar: Most Reputable
Palmetto: Best Customer Support
Sunrun: Best Solar Panel Leasing
SunPower: Best High-Efficiency System

Our Top Solar Company Picks for Illinois

Blue Raven Solar Most Reputable
4.4
Pros and Cons
Pros Provides a unique financing option that includes 18 months of free solar energy Sells SunPowers’s high-efficiency solar products Has won multiple awards for its in-house team Cons Offers one of the shortest guarantees among companies we reviewed Doesn’t have solar lease or power purchase agreement (PPA) financing options Some customer reviews mention aggressive sales tactics
Why We Chose Blue Raven

Blue Raven has a great reputation for its reliability and trustworthiness. The company also stands out for its in-house loan option, which includes 18 months of free solar energy. We noted that online customer reviews praised the company’s knowledgeable staff and prompt installation.

Warranty and Financing

Warranty
A Blue Raven Solar system comes with a 25-year warranty, a 10-year workmanship warranty, and a two-year production guarantee.

Financing Options
✔ Full purchase
✔ Loan

Reputation and Awards

Blue Raven has won several awards from Comparably, a site known for its comprehensive company culture and reputation reviews. Comparably recognized Blue Raven for Best Operations Team 2022, Best Sales Team 2022, Best Product and Design Team 2022, Best Places to Work in Salt Lake City 2022, and Best Company Outlook 2022. Its 2021 wins include Best Company for Diversity 2021, Best CEO 2021, Best Company Work-Life Balance, and Best Career Growth 2021. Blue Raven Solar ranked No. 20 on Glassdoor’s Best Place to Work in the USA in 2021.

Learn more: Blue Raven Solar review

Palmetto Best Customer Support
4.4

We chose Palmetto because it offers a wide range of solar services, from comprehensive protection plans to pest abatement. It has some of the solar market’s most efficient residential panels. We like the company’s commitment to customer service, which includes phone, email, and online chat options, plus an online service request portal and library of troubleshooting resources.

Pros and Cons
Pros Offers a tiered system protection plan Provides an online savings calculator to estimate your ROI Includes a 25-year panel output warranty Cons Charges a monthly fee for active system monitoring Doesn’t offer a free energy consultation Doesn’t offer leasing or PPA financing options
Warranty and Financing

Warranty
Palmetto provides a 25-year panel warranty, 12-year inverter warranty, 10-year workmanship warranty, and five-year roof penetration warranty.

Financing Options
✔ Full purchase
✔ Loan

Reputation and Awards

Palmetto received Solar Power World’s Most Forward-Thinking Contractor award in 2022. Inc. Magazine recognized the company with a Power Partner Award the same year. Palmetto also aims to provide solar energy to underserved communities with its Get Solar, Give Solar program.

Palmetto Solar holds accreditation with the BBB and has an A+ rating. When reading online reviews, we noticed homeowners praising Palmetto for its dedicated installation managers and quality systems.

Learn more: Palmetto Solar review

Sunrun Best Solar Panel Leasing
4.5

We chose Sunrun because of its experience and options for solar panel leasing. Sunrun also prioritizes code compliance through its BuilderChoice New Homes Program. This program gives customers a dedicated team to handle their project’s building and permitting paperwork, ensuring all equipment is installed to code.

Pros and Cons
Pros Offers insurance protection for system damage or theft Provides 24/7 customer support Includes free maintenance on leased solar panels Cons Has negative customer service reviews Encourages customers to lease without explaining the drawbacks Limits its 25-year warranty to lease and prepaid customers
Warranty and Financing

Warranty
Sunrun offers a 10-year comprehensive warranty that includes product, roof penetration, and workmanship coverage. Leasing customers receive an extended 25-year warranty that includes insurance protection for theft and damage.

Financing Options
✔ Full purchase
✔ Loan
✔ Lease
✔ Power purchase agreement (PPA)

Reputation and Awards

Sunrun has an A+ rating with BBB and is accredited. The provider earned DroneDeploy’s 2022 Guardian of Safety Award for using drone technology with its site assessments. In 2021 and 2022, Sunrun received 14 awards from Comparably, including Best Company Culture, Best CEOs for Diversity, and Best Company for Women. One concern with Sunrun is its push for customers to finance their system through a solar lease without explaining the drawbacks. Leases and PPAs prevent homeowners from ever owning their system or qualifying for solar incentives.

Learn more: Sunrun review

SunPower

Best High-Efficiency System
4.8

Pros and Cons

Pros Builds customized, high-efficiency solar systems to suit each home Offers an extensive coverage area throughout the country Sells energy storage and EV charger add-ons Cons Limits solar equipment options due to in-house product exclusivity More expensive than other companies, according to some customer reviews

Why We Chose SunPower

SunPower offers high-quality solar systems custom-designed to provide homeowners with the highest efficiency possible. The company combines high-efficiency Maxeon solar panels with in-house components to create a streamlined solar system. Its product catalog includes various electric vehicle (EV) chargers to customize your system.

SunPower offers its exclusive SunVault energy storage system that stores your excess energy for use overnight or during power outages. The mySunPower monitoring app allows customers to monitor their system performance, track energy consumption, and control stored energy usage.

Warranty and Financing

Warranty

SunPower backs its solar products with an all-inclusive 25-year warranty covering all solar system components, additional equipment add-ons, workmanship, and a production guarantee of 92% power output.

 

Financing options

✔ Full purchase

✔ Loan

✔ Lease

Reputation and Awards

Since 1985, SunPower has committed itself to developing innovative solar technology, including its high-efficiency monocrystalline solar panels. In 2020, the company moved the panel manufacturing division into a separate company called Maxeon Solar Technologies.

SunPower continued to develop its own solar products, including mounts, microinverters, batteries, and software. The company received PV Magazine’s 2019 Sustainability Award for “outstanding sustainability leadership in the solar industry.” In 2022, SunPower received the Good Housekeeping’s 2022 Home Renovation Award in the Biggest Energy Savers category. The company was recognized for its innovative SunVault energy storage system.

SunPower currently holds an A+ rating and is accredited with the BBB. Based on our team’s review analysis, we discovered that customers were pleased with their SunPower system performance. However, we noticed a pattern of complaints about higher-than-average installation costs and communication issues with third-party installers.

States Available

All 50 states, but varies by ZIP code

Learn more: SunPower review


What Are the Available Solar Incentives in Illinois?

All solar owners are eligible for the federal tax credit (also known as the investment tax credit or ITC). This credit provides a tax reduction equal to 30% of your solar energy costs. The rate will drop to 26% in 2033 and 22% in 2034 before ending.

You may also qualify for state solar incentives and rebates in Illinois. Here are some of the key programs the state offers:

  • Adjustable Block Program: The Adjustable Block Program, also known as Illinois Shines, provides one solar renewable energy certificate (SREC) for each megawatt-hour (MWh) your system produces over 15 years. These certificates can amount to thousands in savings. 
  • Illinois Net Metering: Utility companies will give you a one-to-one credit against your electric usage for the excess energy your system produces under the statewide net metering program.
  • Property tax breaks: Thanks to the special assessment for solar energy systems, Illinois homeowners’ property taxes won’t go up even though installing a solar system increases home value.

One of the most important decisions in your solar project is choosing the right provider. Start by looking at these factors.

Solar Services

Make sure the company you’re considering doesn’t just sell solar panels but also installs them. We recommend in-house installation rather than a third party because you’ll likely experience better communication and quality assurance. You’ll also get a more comprehensive labor warranty on workmanship. 

Check if the provider only installs solar panels or if it installs solar batteries, inverters, chargers, and other equipment as well.

Warranties

Most solar providers offer one or more of the following coverage types:

  • Manufacturer’s warranty (or product warranty): This protects the individual solar panel system components in case of defects.
  • Workmanship warranty: This covers installation in case of poor workmanship or faulty installation materials.
  • Performance (or power production) guarantee: This guarantees the solar system’s output performs as outlined in your contract.

The best companies offer 25-year warranties in each of these cases, though some limit their workmanship warranty to 10 years. We recommend finding a company that provides at least 20 years of coverage for each warranty type.

Payment Options

Most solar companies offer at least two of these solar financing options:

  • Full purchase: Purchasing your system in full gives you immediate ownership and qualifies you for solar incentives. This is the most cost-effective option, as you won’t have to pay extra for interest fees. However, it involves a large amount of cash up-front.
  • Solar loan: A solar loan allows you to pay for your system in monthly installments rather than all at once. You’ll pay more over time due to interest rates, but you’ll still own your system and be able to use solar incentives to save money.
  • Solar lease: Similar to a loan, a solar lease allows you to make set monthly payments to use solar energy. However, you won’t own your system, which disqualifies you from most solar incentives.
  • Power purchase agreement (PPA): A PPA allows you to pay for only the energy you use with no money down, similar to an electricity bill. As with a lease, you won’t own the system or qualify for solar incentives.

We recommend buying your system outright or financing it through a loan if it’s in your budget. Be wary of companies that push solar leases or PPAs without being transparent about the fact that these options disqualify you from incentives.

Customer Support

So much of whether you have a positive experience going solar comes down to customer support. Look on providers’ websites to see how many contact options they provide. Is it just a single phone number, or are there email, chat, and online portals as well? We suggest reaching out to customer support through all these channels to see how responsive, knowledgeable, and friendly the staff is. 

One of the most important things you can do is read customer reviews. This can tell you a lot about a company’s reputation and the common pain points customers experience.


How To Get a Solar Quote in Illinois

You can get a solar quote online by following these steps:

  1. Locate the Get a Quote button or page on the provider’s website. 
  2. Fill out the required information. When we went through the quote process with top providers, most asked for basic contact information, location, property type, and roof size and slope. 
  3. Get your free quote by email or on the website within minutes. 

You can also call the company for this information and to get a quick estimate. When we went through the process online, it took less than 15 minutes to get a quote. By phone, it took an average of 20 minutes.


Our Conclusion

We recommend Blue Raven Solar as our top provider pick for Illinois residents. The company is well-rounded, offering some of the industry’s most efficient solar panels, dependable customer service, and solid warranty coverage. 

Behind Blue Raven, we also suggest looking into Palmetto. Palmetto is a great choice for homeowners that prioritize great customer service. 

We suggest looking at customer reviews before deciding on a provider, as well as getting a quote from at least three companies to compare pricing.


Other Illinois Home Service Resources


FAQs About Solar Companies in Illinois

What is the average cost of solar in Illinois?

The average cost of installing a solar system in Illinois is $13,600–$18,400 for an average-sized 5 kW system. This is before solar tax incentives, such as the federal solar tax credit, which can reduce the price by thousands.

Does Illinois pay for solar panels?

Illinois does not pay for solar panels. However, it offers a range of incentives to reduce solar installation costs.

How many solar panel companies are in Illinois?

According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, Illinois has nearly 100 solar installers across the state. We’ve extensively researched the available options and provided our top recommendations on this list.

Does Illinois exempt solar tax?

Yes, Illinois offers a property tax exemption for residential solar systems. This allows homeowners to exclude their solar system from their property valuation.

Is solar worth it in Illinois?

Yes, solar is worth it in Illinois. EnergySage estimates that the average Illinois system cost is $16,000. After factoring the state’s typical electricity usage and rates, the average utility savings over 20 years is $33,834. According to those numbers, Illinois system owners stand to see double the return on their investment. 


Our Methodology

We are committed to providing comprehensive and unbiased reviews to our readers. After over a thousand hours of research on solar companies, interviews with experts, and common customer needs, we’ve created a detailed rating system for solar providers based on six factors:

  • Solar equipment, installation, and services (25%)
  • Warranty and performance guarantees (25%)
  • Brand reputation and certifications (15%)
  • Financing options (15%)
  • Experience (10%)
  • Availability (10%)

Total scores are divided by 20 for a final 5-point rating scale.

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