Illinois Solar Power Facts in 2024

illinois solar program

If you want to install solar panels, there is no better place than the Land of Lincoln. The state of Illinois can boast a high solar power potential, the short payback time for any solar energy system, and several incentives for solar. Illinois solar panels are a way to ensure solar energy for your home and a great investment into sustainable living and an energy-independent future. 

If you want to go solar, learn all you can by reading on. The Prairie state offers a plethora of incentives, especially for low-income households and your upfront costs are sure to pay off in several years. Enjoy the peace of mind of knowing that you use more energy coming from renewable sources and that you have 198 sunny days to lower your electric bill. Your solar PV system is a great investment. 

Illinois Solar Energy Data

Illinois currently ranks 24th by the total solar capacity installed. The 685.6 MW solar PV systems installed produce enough solar energy to supply 98,000 + Illinois households with renewable energy. Solar panels in Illinois produce as much as 0.50% of the total electricity produced in the state. The low system price and renewed interest for solar are likely to push this number up, as it did in other states. 

To better understand how solar energy capacity develops over time, compare Illinois solar panels to Solar Panels in Arizona and Solar Panels in Wisconsin. The renewed interest in solar panels means that many solar companies are working in the state: more than 340 are currently available. Seventy-five of those are manufacturers. One hundred thirteen are solar installers, and 158 are other companies working in the solar sector. 

Illinois solar power has created over 5,260 clean energy jobs so far and is a growing employer. Rooftop solar panels are responsible for most of these solar panels as the solar installers work hard to keep up with the demand in the state. Solar renewable energy is the energy of the future, so more and more rooftops leave their conventional energy system and rely on their solar system for energy generation

Two developments in the field back the low solar panel system price. Firstly, solar panel production technology got cheaper. Secondly, the increased demand drove down the prices even further. Therefore, the average system price is over 80% lower than it was just a decade ago. 

You can expect to pay as little as $13,400 for a 5 kW solar energy system. Solar renewable energy was never cheaper, and significant solar rebates, the federal tax credit, and other Illinois solar incentives bring this number further down. The average solar system pays off in as little as 6.5 years. 

This is exactly the reason why there are over 54,000 solar installations in Illinois. Solar electricity is way cheaper than utility company electricity. After the solar installation has paid off, you can enjoy completely free energy for almost two decades. You can save money for a new solar system or more, and by the end of the 20-year mark, the energy produced will have saved you more than $24,000. 

Illinois Solar Statistics

Illinois National Ranking24th
Solar Panels Installed(MW)685.6 MW
Can Supply Power to: (No. of Homes)+98,400
% of State's Electricity from Solar0.50%
Solar Companies in the State346 (75 Manufacturers, 113 Installers and Developers, and 158 Others)
Solar Jobs Created5,260
Total Solar Investment in the State$1.5 Billion
Out of Pocket Cost for a 5kWh system$13,400 – $18,100 
Net 20-year savings$24,300 – $32,800 
Average Payback Period6.5 - 9 years
Electricity Bill Offset for a 5kWh system+ 65%
Number of Solar Installations+ 54,000


Notable Solar Installations in Illinois

Besides the 54,000 rooftop solar installations, solar panel manufacturers work hard to supply solar panels for large-scale solar projects in the Prairie State. Solar panel systems can produce solar energy for thousands of customers who can enjoy the benefits of renewable energy and a greener utility bill

Notable solar installations in Illinois: 

  1. Exelon City Solar, 9MW of solar panels installed on more than 41 acres of land, ensures energy supply for 1,350 Illinois residents, 
  2. Geneseo, 1.2 MW of solar PV installed on 5 acres, which can produce power for more than 200 Illinois homes, 
  3. Grand Ridge Solar Farm, a 20 MW solar project, enough energy for over 3,000 Illinois residences, and
  4. Rockford Solar Project, 3 MW of solar panels, which can produce energy for 470 homes. 

Is it Worth it to Buy Solar Panels in Illinois?

Yes, it is worth it to buy solar panels in Illinois. The state and the federal government heavily subsidize every solar panel system in the state. Installing solar panels ensures that your energy comes from a renewable source and that your utility bill is at least 65% lower (for a 5 kW solar system). You get to enjoy solar renewable energy credits, as you can sell them, as well as the peace of mind of knowing that you are doing your bit to fight climate change. 

Solar Companies in the state compete with their low prices and high-quality service in installing solar panels. Your solar installation can save money for you and reduce your carbon footprint. Illinois solar incentives can help keep the price down: Illinois net metering is a sure way to save money on pricey battery storage. Furthermore, you can offset 100% of your energy bill depending on how many panels you have. 

Average Cost of Solar Energy Systems

Many say that the upfront cost of a solar energy system is too high. However, technology has gotten a lot cheaper in the past few years. In the past five years, the price of solar PV systems dropped by 45%. Local incentives, retail net metering by your electric utility, and rising energy costs are the best reasons to go solar in Illinois. 

You can expect your PV system cost to fall to around $3.05 per Watt of DC installed. This means that a 10 kW solar system can cost you around $30,500. The federal and state incentives bring this price further down, and the 26% Federal Tax Credit can offset your federal taxes. Low-income households enjoy even more benefits so that the high initial investment turns into a great investment for your household. 

Illinois Solar Incentives, Rebates, and Tax Credits

Your PV system cost is heavily subsidized in the Land of Lincoln. There are many solar incentives, rebates, and tax credits that can bring the solar PV system down. In the state of Illinois, you can enjoy the following solar benefits:

  1. The Federal Investment Tax Credit, 
  2. Illinois’ SREC incentive, 
  3. The Illinois Solar for All Programs, 
  4. Illinois Net Metering, and 
  5. Solar Investment Property Tax Exemption. 

The Federal Investment Tax Credit

The Federal Investment Tax Credit for your home solar system is a tax credit incentive that lets you save 26% of your total solar PV system cost. The Tax Credits apply to the entire cost of your PV system, including solar array, inverters, battery storage, and the work that was done. Your solar installer can issue you a quote that you use to apply for this generous solar incentive. 

Your PV system is eligible for a 26% solar rebate by the end of 2022. After this period, the incentive drops to 22% in 2023. Starting from 2024, the federal solar incentives are no longer available for home solar, although utility-scale solar projects can still get 10% in solar tax credit. Home solar is eligible for local incentives even after this period. The Federal ITC is only available for cash purchase or home equity line solar loan purchase. 

The Illinois SREC incentive

The Illinois SREC (Solar Renewable Energy Credit) Program or the ABP (Adjustable Energy Block) Program lets you earn SRECs for every kilowatt-hour energy you produce. You can then sell the certificate on the SRECs market to earn some extra money. These certificates have been developed under the Renewable Portfolio Standard RPS. 

Currently, you can get $72 per SREC created. Mind that every MWh of energy you produce is equivalent to 1 SREC. An average American household uses around 11 MW of electricity every year, so your PV system is designed to produce this much energy. The excess energy is sent to the electric utility, but you get Solar Renewable Energy Credits for the total energy produced. 

Illinois Net Metering

Illinois Net Metering functions over smart meters. Your solar PV system is designed to produce enough energy for your annual energy needs. Under net metering, the excess energy is sent to your electric utility instead of battery storage. During summer, you produce more kWh than you consume, so the utility company provides solar storage for you. During winter, you consume more power than you produce, so you draw energy from the grid. 

At the end of the month, you only pay for the net difference and only in the case that you’ve consumed more kWh than your home solar has produced. If you go for a solar lease or a solar PPA (Solar Power Purchase Agreement), make sure to check the contract details with your solar company since you may not be eligible for net-metering with your current utility company. You can also check out solar buy-back rates for more information.

DescriptionEquivalent Cost
The Cost of PV - 10kWh at the average of $3.05 per watt of DC installed$30,500 
The Federal Solar Tax Credit @26% by the end of 2022$7,930 
SRECs @8.5MW @$72/SREC$612 
Net Metering Illinois Savings @$0.1161 @870kWh per month$1,212 
TOTAL cost for a 10kWh home solar system at the end of year 1$22,570 
Years before a 10kWh system pays off if all Illinois solar incentives are taken 11 years

Solar Investment Property Tax Exemption

Under the Solar Investment Property Tax Exemption, you do not pay extra property taxes on the property value increase when you install your solar system. Many solar states have introduced similar solar incentives as a part of their Renewable Portfolio Stands RPS. 

Your solar power system increases the value of your house as soon as the solar installers have finished placing it on your rooftop. Solar panels in Illinois can increase your property value by several thousands of dollars for every kW of solar panel system installed. However, your solar energy system does not increase the taxable property value. 

Illinois Solar for All Programs

Under the Illinois Solar for All Programs, any Illinois household that makes less than 80% of the Area Median Income is eligible for no up-front cost solar system. This solar energy system can be made available either through a solar lease or in the form of communal solar energy systems. Installing solar panels is not obligatory to enjoy solar energy anymore. 

Your solar panel installation can be placed elsewhere. Every solar installer company is obligated to offer at least one kind of no up-front cost solar solution. Your Illinois solar incentives keep getting better. 

Top Solar Companies in Illinois

There are over 340 solar companies in Illinois. One hundred thirteen of these solar installers help you transition from your conventional energy system to a greener power solution. You can produce your solar renewable energy right on your rooftop, so to make it easy to find the best solar installer, we’ve come up with a list of the top ten solar installers in Illinois: 

  1. Windfree Solar, Chicago, 
  2. PlugPV, Schaumburg, 
  3. Deficiency Solar, Lisle, 
  4. Ailey Solar, Chicago, 
  5. GRNE Solar, operates multi-state, 
  6. Greenlink Energy Solutions, Rockford, 
  7. Stateline Solar, Lena, 
  8. YellowLite, Mokena, 
  9. StraightUp Solar, operates multi-state, and 
  10. Sunpro Solar, also operates multi-state. 


Are solar panels free in Illinois?

If your household makes less than 80% of Illinois Area Median Income, you may be eligible for a solar lease or communal solar under the Solar for All Programs. These programs aim at providing equal opportunities for all people who want to use more green energy without the high solar panel cost

How much does it cost to install solar panels in Illinois?

Depending on your area and other factors, an average 5 kW solar installation can cost you around $13,400 – $18,100. Your energy costs will be significantly reduced, as your home solar system produces energy for a fraction of the cost of utility power. The initial investment pays off in as little as 6.5 – 9 years. 

Does solar panels increase property value?

Yes, solar arrays increase property value. Depending on your state and area, your can expect your solar installation to increase your property value by up to $6,000 per kW of solar capacity installed. Your solar energy system increases your net worth, and solar panels in Illinois are not subject to additional taxation under the Solar Property Tax Break. 

Should you pay cash for solar?

If you can, then yes, you should pay cash for solar. This way, you are eligible for the federal tax credit. By the end of 2022, you can see up to 26% of your solar system price return to you in the form of federal tax credit (Federal ITC). In 2023, this drops to 22%. 


Solar power in Illinois is backed by the amazing 198 sunny days per year and federal and state incentives. Several incentives for solar offered in the state can significantly reduce your initial costs and provide significant savings at the beginning of your solar journey. 

The low solar cost, low solar energy costs, and a permanently reduced utility bill are all the benefits solar projects in Illinois provide you with. Go solar to secure an energy-independent future and a cleaner environment for your future self! 

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