By Dan Simms
Updated Nov 3, 2022
We recommend the best products through an independent review process, and advertisers do not influence our picks. We may receive compensation if you visit partners we recommend. Read our advertiser disclosure for more info.
Illinois is a great place to go solar. It’s ranked 17th in the country for solar adoption, and homeowners save thousands of dollars on average in energy costs by installing solar panels. The popularity of solar in the area means there are tons of installers to choose from, which can make your choice a difficult one. In this guide, we’ll provide a list of the best solar installers in Illinois, plus tips on choosing the right one for your solar project.
Find local House Method approved Solar installers
Illinois is home to nearly 100 solar installers, some of which are local companies and others of which are massive national companies with local branches. Choosing the best one for your home is a time-consuming process, but we’ve done a lot of the hard work for you. Below is a list of our picks for the best solar panel companies in the area. We’ll include additional information about each company in the sections below as well.
|Company||Our Take||Our Rating||BBB Rating||Warranty||In-House Installation||Cost|
|SunPower||Overall||9.8||A+||25 years for equipment, workmanship, and efficiency||Sometimes||$$$$|
|Sun Badger Solar||Best Local Installer||9.7||A-||25 years for equipment and workmanship||Yes||$$|
|Blue Raven Solar||Best Solar Financing||9.6||A+||25 years for equipment||Yes||$$|
|ADT Solar||Best Solar Warranty||9.4||A-||25 years for equipment and performance||Yes||$$$|
|Tesla||Best Technology||9.4||B||25 years for equipment plus 10 years overall||No||$$|
|Windfree Solar||Best Customer Service||9.2||A+||25 years for equipment plus 15 years for workmanship||Yes||$$$|
|GRNE Solar||Best System Customization||9.2||N/A||Manufacturer’s warranty only||Yes||$$$|
SunPower is a massive national company that serves all of Illinois. It’s best known for its high-quality and high-efficiency solar equipment, which is often touted as the best in the industry. It also provides stellar warranty coverage, including a 25-year warranty for equipment, workmanship, and solar power production. It also covers roof leaks.
SunPower provides ultra-premium products, and although the cost is higher than you’ll find from most competitors, many customers find that the value is well worth the investment. We’ll include some additional information about this company below.
SunPower installs Maxeon panels, which average between $2.85 and $3.25 per watt. This is well above the national average of $2.66, making the typical cost of a standard 7.5-kW solar system in IL between $21,000 and $25,000 before the federal investment tax credit (ITC).
SunPower’s warranty is one of the best in the industry. It covers workmanship, equipment, and energy generation for an incredible 25 years. This is also one of the only companies that offer roof leak protection, an important option in rainy Illinois.
SunPower installs solar panels, solar batteries, and electric vehicle (EV) chargers. It also offers solar monitoring and a convenient self-monitoring app with all of its installations.
SunPower accepts cash purchases, solar loans, leases, and power purchase agreements (PPAs). We don’t recommend leases or PPAs for most customers, but the options are nice to have and do make going solar more affordable and accessible for many solar customers.
SunPower has a referral program through which you can earn $100 for every customer you refer to the company.
SunPower used to manufacture panels only and outsource installations to third parties. The company is being restructured and, going forward, SunPower will be handling installations in-house and installing panels made by its sister company, Maxeon. During this transition period, many of the installations will still be outsourced.
SunPower only installs panels made by Maxeon, its sister company.
SunPower has many installers that have certification from the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP). It’s also a SEIA-certified company and a member of the US Green Building Council.
Sun Badger Solar is a local company that serves Illinois and a handful of states in the surrounding area. It was founded in 2018, so it’s one of the younger companies on our list, but it already has a reputation for great customer service and high-quality solar installations. This company also provides an impressive warranty to keep your investment protected for many years to come.
Sun Badger is an excellent local installer to choose if you can get over the short amount of time it has spent in the industry. It maintains below-average pricing and still provides top-tier solar equipment for an incredible value.
There are no average prices available on Sun Badger’s website. However, based on customer reviews and past projects, you can expect Sun Badger’s prices to come in below average. With the typical Illinois solar system cost totaling around $15,000 after the ITC, you can expect something closer to $12,500 from this company.
Sun Badger offers a 25-year warranty that covers the equipment and the workmanship. The power production is, unfortunately, not covered in this warranty, but the manufacturer’s warranty could provide that.
Sun Badger Solar is a full-service solar company that installs solar panels, solar batteries, and EV chargers. It also offers solar monitoring services after the installation process to ensure your system functions as intended.
Sun Badger accepts cash and solar loans only, so customers looking for solar leases or PPAs won’t find a suitable option here. However, the company does provide access to no-money-down solar loans, which makes solar systems more accessible.
Sun Badger Solar has a great referral program. It will pay you $25 for each qualified referral you send them and an additional $600 for every customer you refer that installs solar with the company.
Sun Badger Solar has a dedicated in-house installation team that handles all of the installs for this company. As such, you’ll never have to worry about issues stemming from third-party installers.
Sun Badger Solar installs many different brands, including SolarEdge, LG, QCells, Fronius, SMA, Tesla, Longi, Solaria, Sonnen, Enphase, and Jinko Solar.
Sun Badger has several installers that are NABCEP-certified. There are no additional partnerships that are noteworthy, and the company is not yet accredited by the BBB.
Blue Raven Solar is a large solar contractor that installs solar across the country, including all of Illinois. It’s best-known for its accessible financing options and its relatively low pricing. Unfortunately, this company only installs panels, so it’s not the best option if you’re looking for add-on products or services.
Blue Raven is one of the more affordable national companies, and it maintains solar accessibility for all with its incredible financing options. We’ll dive a bit deeper into this company below.
Blue Raven mentions on its website that the national average cost for its solar power systems is around $14,000 after the ITC. Its prices are typically below average. With an average cost in Illinois of $15,000, this pricing is likely accurate in the Prairie State.
Blue Raven provides a lengthy warranty with all installations. It covers all equipment for 25 years, and that’s in addition to whatever warranty the manufacturer offers. The company also offers a 10-year workmanship warranty.
As of this writing, Blue Raven Solar only installs solar panels, so customers looking for solar batteries, EV chargers, and other add-ons should choose a different company. However, Blue Raven has mentioned that it will start offering solar batteries sometime in 2022.
Blue Raven accepts cash purchases and solar financing for its systems. Its BluePower Plus+ program is one of the best and most accessible solar loans in the industry, with no money down required and no payments for 18 months. Plus, it offers low APRs for most customers. There are no options for solar leases or PPAs, although we don’t recommend these options anyway.
Blue Raven has one of the best solar panel referral programs in the industry. You can earn $1,000 for the first and second customers you refer to the company and $1,500 per customer after that.
Blue Raven is a massive solar company, but it manages an in-house team of installers. All installations through Blue Raven Solar are completed by its own employees.
Blue Raven offers several top-tier solar panels, batter, and inverter equipment brands. These include SMA, Canadian Solar, Solar Edge, Hyundai, SolarWorld, Trina, Enphase, and Axitec.
Blue Raven has several NABCEP-certified installers on its team. The company is also accredited by the BBB.
ADT Solar is the result of ADT — the home security company — purchasing SunPro. Together, the companies have 15 years of experience in solar, and they currently provide excellent customer service for such a large company and great warranty coverage. ADT is a national company with a strong presence in Illinois.
ADT Solar installs high-quality equipment and still manages to keep costs relatively low to make solar accessible. The quality for the money is outstanding, especially given the extensive and comprehensive warranty coverage included with all solar panel installations.
ADT Solar doesn’t post average costs for its solar panel systems. However, customer reports note that the prices are around average. In Illinois, you can expect a solar system from ADT to total around $15,000 after the ITC is considered.
ADT separates itself from the competition in terms of warranty coverage. The company includes a 25-year warranty that covers equipment, workmanship, and power production. This rivals SunPower’s warranty coverage as some of the best in the industry.
ADT Solar tackles solar panel installations, solar battery installations, and EV charger setups.
ADT Solar only accepts solar loans and cash purchases. You won’t find no-money-down options like leases or PPAs.
ADT has an impressive referral program that offers a $1,000 bonus for any referred customer. This is a great way to incentivize spreading the word about clean energy.
ADT handles many of its own installations. However, there are reports of the company outsourcing installations to third parties.
ADT installs solar equipment manufactured by LG, Enphase, Tesla, Mission Solar, and Outback Power Systems. These are all considered tier-one solar companies.
Many of ADT Solar’s installers are certified by NABCEP. The company is also accredited by the BBB.
The Tesla brand is best known for its luxury electric vehicles, but the company also manufactures solar panels, solar roofs, and some of the best solar batteries in the industry. Tesla has some of the most advanced solar equipment to its name, but it often lacks the customer service provided by other companies due to outsourcing installations.
Tesla is a massive company that serves solar customers across the nation. It uses a large network of certified third-party installers to complete the installations and manufactures the equipment in-house. We’ll include some crucial information about Tesla below.
Tesla doesn’t post national or local averages for its systems. However, it does use a price matching system to ensure that its prices aren’t beaten by other companies. If you find a similar system for less money, Tesla will match the price, which is great news for those looking to save on solar while reducing their carbon footprint.
Tesla includes a 25-year equipment warranty but only 10 years of coverage for workmanship and parts. This is below the industry standard. There is also a 25-year performance warranty that guarantees an 80% efficiency rating for the entirety of the coverage.
Tesla installs solar panels and solar batteries, and it offers solar monitoring services and EV chargers as well. It’s also one of the few companies in the industry offering solar shingles as a part of its offerings.
Tesla only accepts cash purchases and solar loans. Although there are no leases or PPAs, the company’s price-match program does help keep its products and services affordable.
Tesla outsources all of its installations to third-party companies. In some cases, this leads to less-than-optimal customer service. Your experience will vary depending on which installer is assigned to your rooftop solar project.
Tesla only installs its own equipment, so you’ll be locked into a single brand when going solar with Tesla.
Tesla has no industry-specific partnerships of note, but it is accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
Windfree Solar is a small, local company that is based in Chicago. Unfortunately, it only services the Chicago metropolitan area and surrounding cities. What it lacks in footprint, it makes up for in great warranty coverage and unmatched customer service.
Windfree Solar is a relatively small company that provides residential and commercial solar installations to the Chicagoland area. We’ll include information about costs, services provided, warranty coverage, and more below.
There are no numbers available for Windfree Solar’s past projects. However, the company typically comes in around the average price for the area, so you can reasonably expect a total of approximately $15,000. However, this can fluctuate quite a bit based on many factors.
Windfree includes a lengthy 25-year warranty for all equipment, plus a 15-year warranty for workmanship. This isn’t quite as good as some competitors, but it’s long enough to provide most homeowners with ample peace of mind.
Windfree Solar is a full-service solar contractor. It tackles solar panel installations, battery backup installations, and EV chargers. It can also provide additional upgrades to your home’s energy efficiency, plus wind power solutions for those looking for alternative renewable energy solutions.
Windfree Solar only accepts cash purchases and solar loans. Solar leases and PPAs are not provided through this company’s financing partners.
Windfree Solar is a small solar company that manages its own team of installers. All solar panel and battery installations are handled by the in-house team and will never be outsourced.
Windfree Solar doesn’t confirm on its website what brands of solar panels it installs. However, it is a Tesla Powerwall certified installer, so its battery options at least include Tesla.
Windfree Solar’s installers are NABCEP-certified. It has partnered with several local organizations to provide commercial solar solutions, including the Grace Lutheran Church in River Forest, Gould Farms in Maple Park, and Whiskey Acres Distilling in DeKalb.
GRNE Solar is a full-service regional solar company that has a solid foothold in the midwest, including all of Illinois. It’s known for great customer service, appealing financing options, and customization options for all residential systems.
As a regional company, GRNE Solar is able to provide a nice blend of quality and affordability. It provides a nice array of product brands and great customer service while maintaining prices that are around average. We’ll include additional information below.
GRNE Solar doesn’t post pricing information online. Customers have reported that the company is around average in price compared to competitors and that the quality for the cost is excellent.
Unfortunately, GRNE Solar only offers the manufacturer’s warranty, which varies based on the equipment you have installed. There is no workmanship or efficiency warranty.
GRNE Solar installs solar panels, solar batteries, and EV chargers. It also offers full solar maintenance and solar monitoring.
This company accepts cash purchases, solar loans, and PPAs. There are no solar leasing options available.
GRNE Solar has a referral program that offers a $25 Visa gift card for each customer that schedules a consultation with the company. You’ll also receive a $500 check if that customer ends up installing solar.
GRNE Solar has an in-house team of installers that tackle all of the work for this company. This is partially why the contractor is able to maintain a reputation for such great customer service.
This company installs equipment manufactured by Panasonic, LG, Solar Edge, QCells, Fronius, SMA, and Chint Power Systems.
Many of the in-house installers are certified by NABCEP. However, there are no other noteworthy partnerships within the solar industry, and the company isn’t BBB-accredited.
There are tons of solar companies to choose from in Illinois, and figuring out which ones fit into your budget, supply the equipment you want, and can provide the customer service you deserve can be a time-consuming and frustrating process. Luckily, we’ve assessed the top solar companies in Illinois for you.
Our top pick for solar installation in the Prairie State is SunPower. This is a large, national company that installs some of the highest-efficiency equipment available in the industry. It also comes with outstanding warranty coverage, which is ideal in an area like Illinois that is vulnerable to thunderstorms, tornadoes, and other extreme weather.
Whether you choose one of the companies we’ve recommended above or you continue searching on your own, there are a few crucial factors you’ll want to consider. We’ll discuss the most important criteria to look for in a solar installer, specifically in Illinois.
Of course, the price of your solar system will be an important factor, and pricing can be the difference between an ideal company for your project and one that falls outside of your budget. You can request free quotes from companies in your area to see how they stack up against one another.
It’s important to compare companies based on the quality of the equipment they offer and the overall value provided in addition to the cost. Remember that some companies — like SunPower — offer higher-quality equipment than most others and will naturally be more expensive. If you can afford the services of these companies, the higher cost might be well worth the investment.
Most solar companies provide warranties that cover the equipment, the workmanship, or the performance of the panels themselves. Some of the best solar installers include all three, and the top-tier installers also cover roof leaks resulting from roof penetration.
Solar warranties are important no matter where you live, but they’re especially crucial in Illinois. The state is prone to extreme weather, including frequent tornadoes and extreme thunderstorms that can put solar equipment at risk.
Additionally, the state receives around 48 inches of rain in some areas, which is about 150% of the national average. This can lead to an increased risk of roof leaks, so having warranties that guarantee a proper installation are a great thing to have in the area.
All solar companies can handle solar panel installations, but if you’re looking for other products and services — like solar batteries, EV chargers, and solar monitoring — then you’ll have fewer options for companies that can meet your needs.
Some companies — like Blue Raven Solar — only install solar panels, while others are full-service installers. You might be able to rule out companies based on the products you know you want and the ones they can handle for you.
Solar panel systems average around $15,000 in Illinois after the tax credit is considered. While some homeowners will be able to afford to pay for their systems in cash, others will need to turn to more accessible solutions, like solar financing, solar leases, and PPAs.
If you know which option works best for you, you might be able to rule out some solar providers in your area.
We would be remiss if we didn’t mention that cash purchases — although they come with a large upfront cost — save you the most money over time, on average, and solar loans save the second most. We don’t recommend leases or PPAs because they save the least, and financing options like the BluePower Plus+ program from Blue Raven make solar loans highly accessible and affordable.
Some companies have an in-house team of installers, which means you have one point of contact and a higher likelihood of getting great customer service. Plus, an all-in-house installation team means one company is solely responsible for issues that arise and might require an insurance claim or warranty claim.
Other companies, like Tesla, outsource all of their installations and focus instead on manufacturing solar equipment. This model works well for keeping costs down, but it can lead to some issues with customer service.
Each solar company that operates in Illinois carries a different collection of solar equipment brands. Some are more affordable than others, while some — like SunPower panels and Tesla Powerwalls — tend to be more costly but provide the highest level of efficiency available.
If you know what solar brands you want to be installed in your home, then you can rule out some installers in your area that don’t carry them. If you’re unsure, we recommend going with a company that installs tier-one panels and batteries. These include — but are not limited to — SunPower, Tesla, LG, Panasonic, and Solar Edge.
Customer service and overall customer experience can vary widely among solar installers. A good experience often means a straightforward installation experience and easy scheduling. A bad experience could mean issues with roof leaks, poor panel performance, delayed installations, and other frustrating problems.
We suggest reading through some positive and negative customer reviews for any company you’re considering hiring. This will help give you an idea of what to expect in terms of service, and it could help you avoid major issues with your home or solar energy system.
The solar industry is booming in Illinois, as the state recently ranked 17th in the country for solar installations. In an area of such high demand, you’re bound to see less-than-trustworthy companies pop up to take advantage and turn a profit.
One way to avoid hiring less reputable companies is to look for affiliations with industry organizations. This helps establish a company’s intent to stay in the industry and benefit renewable energy as a whole. Some partnerships to look for include the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP), the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), and affiliations like the US Green Building Council.
Finally, we suggest considering the size of the company you’re thinking of hiring. There are three categories to consider: local companies, national companies, and regional companies.
Local companies typically provide the best customer service, but their warranties aren’t always the best, and their prices tend to be the highest. National companies usually have the most affordable prices and the best warranties, but customer service can be lacking in some cases. They also tend to outsource installations, which can cause issues with service and scheduling.
Yes! Illinois provides residents with a solar property tax exemption. Installing a solar system increases your home value by an average of 4.1%, according to Zillow. Under normal circumstances, home improvements that raise your property value also cause your property taxes to go up. The property tax exemption in IL prevents this from happening.
There is no such thing as truly free solar panels. Some companies advertise free solar systems, but they’re typically just marketing a solar lease or PPA.
However, it is possible to get solar with no money down. One example is with the BluePower Plus+ financing program from Blue Raven. This program requires no money down, offers low interest rates, and requires no payments for 18 months.
Illinois is an excellent place to go solar, in part because of the solar incentives provided by the state and federal governments.
First, all IL homeowners can take advantage of the federal tax credit, which is a credit to your federal income tax for 26% of the cost of your system. In Illinois, that averages out to over $5,000.
Illinois also has the Illinois Solar for All Program that provides access to solar for low-income households.
There is a property tax exemption for solar equipment in Illinois, local rebates — like the ComEd rebate for $250 for each kilowatt you install — an SRECs market for earning money with your panels, and a solid net metering program that helps solar customers in the area eliminate their electric bills using excess energy production.
Despite its northern location, Illinois receives plenty of sun to make solar a worthwhile investment. The state receives an average of 198 sunny days per year, which is only a touch below the national average of 205.
Plus, solar energy goes further and saves more in Illinois than most other states, as the cost of electricity is above the national average.
The cost of going solar in Illinois will vary quite a bit from customer to customer, as the pricing is based on many different factors. These include the amount of sun your home gets, the size of your home, the solar installer you choose, the equipment you need, and more.
With that being said, the typical cost for a solar electric system in Illinois is around $15,000 after the ITC is applied. The normal range is between $10,000 and $20,000.
Finding the best solar installer for your Illinois home involves carefully comparing contractors based on many criteria. Most importantly, you should consider warranty coverage, given the high risk of extreme weather in the area, overall cost, value provided, the quality of the equipment brands offered, and the company’s record for providing great customer service.
Tesla is the most affordable solar company in Illinois. The company’s equipment is a bit on the expensive side normally, but it offers price matching. If you find equivalent equipment for less money, Tesla will lower its prices accordingly to get your business.
More on Solar from House Method