solar panels illinois

Solar Panels Illinois: Get the Latest on Costs, Rebates and Incentives

The installation of solar panels is getting more popular in Illinois.

A big reason for this is the strong solar incentives homeowners in the state can get to lower the cost of installing solar panels.

Over the past decade, Illinois has made big advances in sustainable energy. The state has put a particular emphasis on solar and wind to generate clean energy for residents.

Below you’ll find the latest on solar costs, rebates, incentives, and more in Illinois and why now may be the ideal time to act.

Solar Panels Illinois: A Guide For IL Homeowners

Cost of Solar Panels in Illinois

You’ll see a wide range of estimates of the average solar cost in Illinois.

The average cost per watt for a system ranges from around $2.65 to a little over $3.50. And the total cost for installation ranges from about $13,000 to $18,000.

Why such a big range? Because every situation is different. How many panels you need, what solar company you use, the efficiency of the panels you choose, and other factors determine how much you end up paying.

The only way to get a good idea of how much solar panels will cost you is to get a quote from a local installer. (We suggest you get multiple quotes from local installers to compare costs, equipment, savings estimates, and more.)

The bottom line is that a rough average total cost for solar panels for an average installation in Illinois is around $10,800.

With your electricity savings, it’s estimated that a solar installation will pay for itself in 6 -8.1 years. Though, as fast as electricity rates are rising, you may break even on your solar investment sooner than that.

Illinois Solar Incentives

One of the reasons Illinois residents are going solar is due to the tax credits and incentives may qualify for.

Here’s an overview of the current solar incentives, which are some of the best in the country, available to Illinois residents:

Net Metering

Illinois, like many other states, has a net metering policy. Net metering allows you to connect your solar panels to the electrical grid of a public utility.

If you produce excess energy that you do not immediately require, you can sell it back – at the retail rate – to the grid in exchange for credits that can be applied to your future energy bills. The money the utility owes you will show up as a credit on your next statement. Or, if you produce more electricity than you use over a year, the electric company will cut you a check.

Illinois Solar Tax Rebates

In addition to the federal ITC, Illinois offers extra solar incentives and rebates that vary by area and utility company.

The Climate and Equitable Jobs Act reinstated the “Illinois Shines” Adjustable Block Program (ABP), which permits the purchase of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) from owners of solar panel systems. Payments under the ABP are made by Approved Vendors of the program to system owners once the system is completely interconnected and program administrators approve the system owner’s application.

The bill establishes a target of 100 percent renewable energy in the state by 2050, provides new jobs and equity programs, reauthorizes solar incentive programs, and introduces new incentives for electric vehicles beginning in 2022. Under the Illinois Adjustable Block Program (ABP), the average homeowner with a solar energy system can get a rebate worth thousands of dollars, depending on the installation’s size, location, and utility company.

Special Assessment for Solar Energy Systems/Property Tax Exemption 

Solar energy systems in Illinois are assessed differently for property tax purposes. When a claim for alternate valuation is filed, the chief county assessment officer must determine two values: the value of the improvements as if they were equipped with a conventional heating or cooling system and the value of the improvements as if they were fitted with a solar energy system. The alternative assessment is the lesser of these two values.

Federal Solar Tax Rebate

All Illinois residents can take advantage of the current Federal tax credits for solar. Due to the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, you can get a 30% tax credit for installing solar on your home. That includes the cost of the panels, labor, batteries, and anything else that’s a part of your system.

This tax credit will save many homeowners thousands of dollars off the cost of solar. This is a dollar-for-dollar tax credit, and here’s how that works…

If you have an average size solar installation and it costs $15,000. Your tax credit for that will be $5,000. At the end of the year, if you owe $6,000 in taxes to the IRS, you would only have to pay $1,000 due to your solar tax credit.

Is Solar Worth It In Illinois?

That’s a lot of information to take in. But it all boils down to this question… Is solar worth it in Illinois?

If you factor in…

  • The available incentives highlighted above
  • The Federal tax credit, and
  • Low solar panel prices (prices have dropped almost 80% in the last 10 years)…

… the answer for many Illinois residents is absolutely YES!

Solar panel systems take an average of 6 – 8 years to pay for themselves in IL. And, over 20 years, the average IL homeowner can save between $19,000 and $26,000 on electricity costs by having solar power in their homes.

This doesn’t even consider the environmental benefits of solar and being able to supply your electricity and be energy independent (if you include batteries with your system).

But solar won’t make sense for all homeowners in Illinois. How much electricity you use, how much sunlight your roof gets, the number of panels you can fit on your roof, and other factors all come into play here.

The only way to truly understand how much the upfront costs will be and how much you’ll save is to get an estimate from a trusted, local installer.

You’ll definitely want to get at least a few estimates because the costs and savings can vary quite a bit from company to company.

A great place to get at least one of your estimates is UnderstandSolar. They’ve been around a long time and are the #1 Solar Advisor in the US. They have partnerships with the largest and most trustworthy solar installers in Illinois.

You can get a solar savings estimate from them in about a minute. Just enter your zip code below to get started, then fill out the form on the UnderstandSolar site to get your savings estimate.

Why NOW Is A Great Time To See If Solar Makes Sense For Your Home

If you even think you may want solar panels for your home, now is the time to do it. This is because we look to be in an excellent window for those who want to save with solar.

However, this window for savings may not last much longer for a few reasons.

  • Yes, solar panels cost much less than just a few years ago. However, costs may be on the rise. Because of material shortages, tariffs on imported panels, and supply chain issues, many expect prices to rise quickly.
  • The 26% Federal solar tax rebate drops to 22% in 2023 and goes away completely in 2024, so the time to take advantage of the thousands in savings thanks to Uncle Sam, is drawing to a close soon. As mentioned above, the federal solar tax rebate is now at 30% for all homeowners, thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022.
  • More extreme weather and power grid problems have led to more frequent and prolonged power outages throughout the US. This is increasing demand for solar and batteries and wait times for installation are growing.
  • The longer you hold off, the more you miss out on saving money on your monthly electric bill

To make sure you don’t miss out on the current low costs and incentives, it’s worth at least getting an estimate or two now. Have an expert assess your situation, run the numbers for you and see how much you can save.

Again, we highly recommend you get at least one of your quotes from the #1 Solar Advisor in the U.S., UnderstandSolar. They have relationships with the largest, most trusted solar installers to provide homeowners with free, accurate, no-obligation solar savings estimates.

To get started, just enter your zip code below and fill out the form on UnderstandSolar’s site to get an accurate savings estimate from a trustworthy local IL solar installer.

The representative that contacts you won’t bite (we promise!) and if you’re not ready to go solar or you find another company with a better offer, that’s totally okay. But at least you’ll do so now, knowing you’ve made an informed decision.

And, by taking this first step now, you may save yourself a HUGE amount on your electric bills in the years and decades to come.