Solar Panels in Chicago 2024: Costs, Savings, Top Companies & Essential Tips

Local Solar

comment No Comments

By Smartpowr

As electricity costs continue to rise in Chicago, many homeowners are turning to solar panels as a cost-effective and eco-friendly solution. In 2024, going solar in Chicago offers numerous benefits, including significant long-term savings, reduced carbon footprint, and increased home value. With a range of incentives and rebates available, as well as reputable local solar companies, Chicagoans have more reasons than ever to make the switch to clean energy.

Solar Panel Costs in Chicago

The cost of solar panels in Chicago has significantly decreased in recent years, making solar energy more accessible to homeowners. As of February 2024, the average cost per watt for solar panels in Chicago is $3.16. For a typical 5 kW system, which is suitable for most households, Chicago homeowners can expect to pay between $13,410 and $18,144, with an average cost of $15,777 before applying incentives and rebates.

To provide a clearer picture of solar panel costs in Chicago, here is a table showcasing the average costs for common system sizes:

System SizeAverage CostCost After 30% Federal Tax Credit
5 kW$15,874$11,112
6 kW$19,048$13,334
7 kW$22,223$15,556
8 kW$25,398$17,779
10 kW$31,747$22,223

Several factors can affect the overall cost of a solar panel system, including the system size, equipment quality, and choice of installer. Opting for high-efficiency panels or premium inverters may increase upfront costs but can lead to greater long-term savings and system performance.

Are Solar Panels Worth It in Chicago?

For most Chicago homeowners, investing in solar panels is a smart financial decision that offers significant long-term savings. With a 5 kW system, homeowners can expect to save an estimated $44,410 over 20 years after applying incentives and rebates. The average payback period for solar panels in Chicago is 8-12 years, after which homeowners can enjoy free electricity for the remainder of their system’s lifespan, typically 25-30 years.

In addition to the financial benefits, going solar can also increase home value. Studies have shown that homes with solar panels sell faster and at a premium compared to non-solar homes, making solar a smart investment for both energy savings and property value.

To determine if solar panels are worth it for your specific situation, consider factors such as:

  1. Your average monthly electricity bill
  2. The size and orientation of your roof
  3. The amount of sunlight your property receives
  4. Your eligibility for incentives and rebates

By calculating your solar panel ROI and comparing it to the upfront costs, you can make an informed decision on whether solar panels are a worthwhile investment for your Chicago home.

Solar Incentives & Rebates in Chicago

Chicago homeowners can take advantage of several incentives and rebates to reduce the cost of going solar:

  1. 30% federal tax credit: The Investment Tax Credit (ITC) allows homeowners to deduct 30% of their solar installation costs from their federal taxes.
  2. Illinois Shines/SREC incentives: The Illinois Shines program offers Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs) to homeowners based on their system’s energy production. These credits can be sold to utility companies, providing additional income for solar owners.
  3. Property tax exemption: In Illinois, solar panels are exempt from property tax assessments, meaning homeowners won’t face increased property taxes due to the added value of their solar system.
  4. Net metering: Chicago’s net metering policy allows homeowners to send excess solar energy back to the grid in exchange for credits on their electricity bills. This helps maximize the value of a solar panel system and reduce overall energy costs.
Solar Tax Credits
Solar Tax Credits

What to Consider When Going Solar in Chicago

Chicago Annual sunlight Hours
Chicago Annual sunlight Hours

Before installing solar panels, Chicago homeowners should consider several key factors to ensure optimal system performance and maximum savings:

  1. Local climate and peak sun hours: Chicago receives an average of 4.08 peak sun hours per day, which is sufficient for solar panels to generate a significant amount of electricity. However, the city’s cold winters and occasional snowfall may slightly impact overall system performance. To mitigate this, consider installing solar panels with higher efficiency ratings or opting for a system with a larger capacity.
  2. Roof direction and shading: For optimal energy production, solar panels should be installed on a south-facing roof with minimal shading from trees or nearby buildings. If a south-facing roof is not available, east- or west-facing roofs can still provide adequate performance. To assess your roof’s solar potential, consult with a professional installer or use online tools like Google’s Project Sunroof.
  3. Comparing quotes from multiple installers: To ensure the best value for their investment, homeowners should obtain quotes from several reputable solar installers in the Chicago area. Comparing prices, equipment quality, and warranties can help homeowners make an informed decision and find the most suitable installer for their needs.
  4. Equipment quality and warranties: Investing in high-quality solar panels and inverters with robust warranties can provide peace of mind and ensure a system’s long-term performance. Many reputable manufacturers offer warranties of 25 years or more on their products, protecting your investment and guaranteeing optimal energy production.
  5. Financing options: Chicago homeowners have several financing options for their solar panel systems, including cash purchases, loans, and leases. Each option has its advantages and disadvantages, and homeowners should carefully consider their financial situation and long-term goals when deciding on a financing method.

By thoroughly evaluating these factors and working with a trusted solar installer, Chicago homeowners can ensure a smooth transition to clean, renewable energy and maximize the benefits of their solar panel investment.

Top Solar Companies in Chicago

Chicago is home to several reputable solar companies that can help homeowners navigate the process of going solar. Some of the top solar companies in the area include:

1. Windfree Solar Co

Windfree Solar Co is known for its professional yet friendly approach to customer service. Their highly skilled installers, with proper qualifications and extensive work experience, ensure that they select the solar panels best suited for each home. Customers consistently praise Windfree for their spotless and meticulous installation work.

Windfree Solar’s commitment to quality extends beyond the installation process. They offer a 15-year workmanship warranty, which is longer than the industry average. This provides added peace of mind for homeowners, especially in an area like Chicago where panels face a higher risk of damage due to extreme weather conditions.

In addition to solar panels, Windfree installs solar batteries and provides access to solar monitoring apps, allowing customers to track their system’s performance. While they only accept cash purchases and solar loans, their local expertise and personalized service make them an excellent choice for Chicago homeowners.

  • Location: 5022 W Foster Ave, Chicago, IL 60630
  • Phone: (312) 588-6953
  • Website:

2. YellowLite

YellowLite works with contractual installers rather than an in-house installation team. However, customers consistently praise these teams for their clean, efficient work, often completing even large projects in a single day. The company is also highly regarded for its transparency and honesty regarding installation charges.

One unique aspect of YellowLite is their solar monitoring service. While this adds to the overall cost, many customers appreciate the peace of mind that comes with having professionals oversee their system’s performance. YellowLite also offers a wide variety of high-quality solar panels from top manufacturers like Trina, LONGi, Silfab, and SolarEdge.

Although their 10-year workmanship warranty is standard for the industry, YellowLite’s commitment to customer satisfaction and their strong track record of positive reviews suggest that most customers won’t encounter issues with their installations.

  • Location: 512 N McClurg Ct Suite 2207, Chicago, IL 60611
  • Phone: (630) 296-6307
  • Website:

3. WindSoleil Solar and Wind Energy Services

WindSoleil Solar and Wind Energy Services goes above and beyond to meet all of their customers’ needs. They handle the entire process, from permits to federal tax credits, allowing customers to maximize their savings. WindSoleil is also known for their complete transparency throughout the project.

Customers appreciate WindSoleil’s excellent communication and support, with the team guiding them through every step of the process. The company has received praise for their professionalism and for delivering high-quality products on time.

While their service area is limited to Southern Illinois, WindSoleil’s personalized approach and attention to detail make them a top choice for homeowners in their coverage area.

  • Location: 401 N Trumbull Ave # D, Chicago, IL 60624
  • Phone: (224) 307-4057
  • Website:

4. Earth Wind & Solar Energy LLC

Earth Wind & Solar Energy LLC, located at 4831 W Wilson Ave in Chicago, is known for their modern, top-notch designs. Despite the high quality of their work, their prices remain quite competitive. Customers consistently praise both the office staff handling paperwork and the installation teams for their professionalism and respectful demeanor.

The company’s knowledgeable team is well-versed in the complexities of solar installations, ensuring that each project is tailored to the customer’s specific needs and property. Earth Wind & Solar Energy LLC also offers a comprehensive warranty package, providing customers with long-term peace of mind.

While they have a relatively limited selection of solar panels and batteries compared to some larger companies, Earth Wind & Solar Energy LLC’s commitment to quality and customer service has earned them a loyal following in the Chicago area.

5. Moxie Solar

Moxie Solar stands out for their commitment to transparent pricing and customer satisfaction. The company promises never to back-bill customers, and they consistently deliver on this promise. Moxie’s friendly installers and knowledgeable staff work together to create a welcoming, informative experience for customers.

In addition to residential installations, Moxie Solar also offers solar solutions for offices and commercial properties. They provide a range of financing options, including cash purchases, loans, and leases, making solar accessible to a wider range of customers.

While Moxie Solar may not have the longest track record in the Chicago area, their dedication to customer service and their growing portfolio of successful installations have earned them a strong reputation in the local solar market.

  • Location: 2101 W Carroll Ave Suite 100, Chicago, IL 60612
  • Phone: (312) 736-0404
  • Website:

6. SolarWerks, LLC

SolarWerks, LLC, located at 2817 N Lakewood Ave in Chicago, has quickly earned a reputation for their punctual and efficient installations. Despite being a relatively new company, they have already gained the trust and confidence of many Chicago homeowners.

Customers appreciate SolarWerks’ attention to detail, noting that their installers not only complete projects quickly but also thoroughly clean up any debris afterwards. The company offers a solid warranty package and a variety of financing options, making solar more accessible to a broader range of customers.

While SolarWerks may not have the most extensive selection of solar panels or batteries, their focus on quality installations and customer satisfaction has helped them establish a strong presence in the Chicago solar market.

  • Location: 2817 N Lakewood Ave, Chicago, IL 60657
  • Phone: (773) 354-6363
  • Website:

7. Headline Solar

Headline Solar’s installers are known for their diligence and adherence to guidelines and regulations, ensuring that customers won’t face any issues down the line. The company’s knowledgeable staff is always ready to answer questions and provide guidance throughout the solar installation process.

While Headline Solar may not offer the widest range of solar panels or batteries, they focus on providing high-quality, reliable equipment from trusted manufacturers. The company also offers competitive pricing and a variety of financing options to make solar more accessible to homeowners in the Chicago area.

Customers appreciate Headline Solar’s straightforward approach and commitment to customer education, with the team taking the time to explain the benefits and process of going solar in clear, easy-to-understand terms.

  • Location: 111 S Wacker Dr #56, Chicago, IL 60606
  • Phone: (847) 262-9302
  • Website:

When choosing a solar company in Chicago, it’s essential to consider factors such as the company’s experience, customer reviews, product quality, and installation practices. Obtaining quotes from multiple providers and thoroughly researching each company can help homeowners make an informed decision and ensure a positive solar experience.


Going solar in Chicago in 2024 offers numerous benefits for homeowners, making it an increasingly attractive option for those looking to save money, reduce their carbon footprint, and increase their property value. With the 30% federal tax creditIllinois Shines/SREC incentivesproperty tax exemption, and net metering, the cost of solar panels has become more affordable than ever, providing homeowners with significant long-term savings.

To maximize the benefits of going solar, Chicago homeowners should:

  1. Carefully evaluate their energy needs and property’s solar potential
  2. Compare quotes from multiple reputable installers
  3. Choose high-quality equipment with strong warranties
  4. Consider the most suitable financing option for their situation

By following these essential tips and working with experienced solar companies in Chicago, homeowners can ensure a smooth transition to clean, renewable energy and enjoy the many advantages of solar power for years to come. As Chicago continues to embrace sustainability and renewable energy, going solar has become a smart choice for homeowners looking to save money, reduce their environmental impact, and contribute to a greener future.

Leave a Comment