Illinois Solar Incentives: Tax Credits & Rebates Guide (2022)

By Jacob L.

If you live in the midwest, you probably haven’t thought much about installing solar panels on your home. Thanks to the development of new technology and a range of financial incentives, it is now a worthwhile venture to purchase photovoltaic (PV) systems throughout the United States, especially in Illinois. By having a solar power system in your home, you can ensure minimal initial costs and steady savings for decades to come.

For these reasons and more, it is a great time to buy a new solar energy system in Illinois. Keep reading to learn all about how your purchase and installation of solar panels in Illinois can be made more financially accessible.

Why Go Solar in Illinois?

Although it may not have a wealth of sunshine, Illinois is a great place to invest in solar. With an average of 198 sunny days per year, Illinois is certainly below the American average of 205 sunny days per year. Nonetheless, rapid improvements in photovoltaic technology have increased the efficiency of solar panels so that even cloudier and colder climates can sustain solar energy production.

Illinois is also an excellent state to purchase solar energy systems because of the existence of federal, state-level, and local financial and tax incentives designed to lessen the cost of buying and installing solar panels. Specifically, the government of Illinois has a Renewable Portfolio Standard, which encourages renewable energy production by mandating that a specific amount of electricity produced in the state be derived from renewable sources.

Residents of Illinois additionally benefit from the preexisting availability of local solar providers throughout the state. These providers offer customers the opportunity to entertain a variety of competing quotes while making sure that they receive the best quality service and equipment.

Finally, solar panels can dramatically increase your home’s value. According to Zillow, the average home experiences a 4.1% increase in its value after the addition of a solar power system. In the United States, the average median-valued home sees its value increase by $9,274 after the installation of a solar energy system.

Illinois Solar Cost

The total cost of solar installations in Illinois ranges from $13,005 to $17,595, with an average gross cost of $15,300. On a cost-per-watt basis, solar panel installation in Illinois is $3.06. These costs have come down significantly in recent years. Obviously, if you purchase a larger system (more watts), you will end up spending more to gain additional energy production. With energy bills increasing amid high oil and gas prices, the relative cost of solar is surely bound to continue declining.

Solar system on house rooftop

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How Much Can You Save on Solar in Illinois?

Although you may face steep upfront costs to purchase and install your solar system, you can save lots of money per year, thanks to the electricity your system produces. The mechanism behind the savings functions in this manner: when solar panels produce electricity for your home, they reduce the amount of energy that you pull from the grid, thus lowering your utility bills.

People living in Illinois save as much as $28,906 over a 20-year period. With a payback period of 6.75 years, you can be saving thousands of dollars per year in just over half a decade after purchasing your photovoltaic (PV) equipment.

The Best Solar Incentives, Tax Credits, & Rebates in Illinois

There are several public and private incentives in Illinois that help you save on your purchase of solar panels in Illinois:

Incentive Summary End Date
Federal Solar Tax Credit (ITC) Illinois residents can take advantage of the Federal Solar Tax Credit and get a discount of 26% applied to their tax returns. December 31st, 2022
Illinois Solar Property Tax Exemption The state of Illinois will exempt property taxes on the added value to your home derived from installing a solar energy system. None
Net Metering Net metering allows homeowners that create excess energy to use it as a credit on their next electric bill. All energy providers are required to offer this option to homeowners. None
Illinois Shines This is a Solar Renewable Energy Credit (SREC) program that is sometimes referred to as the Adjustable Block Program. For every 1,000 kilowatt-hours produced by your solar panels, you will get one SREC. Your credits can then be sold to local power companies. None
Illinois Solar For All Program Low-income households are eligible to purchase solar panels with zero upfront costs. However, these households will pay a fee to the solar panel vendors for energy produced. None
ComEd Solar Rebate Nonresidential systems can receive a rebate of $250 for every kilowatt of solar energy capacity. This rebate maxes out at systems with capacities above 2,000 kW. None
USDA REAP GRANT REAP assists agricultural producers and rural small businesses reduce their energy costs and consumption by providing loan financing and grant funding to purchase and install renewable energy systems. Eligibility for the REAP program is dependent on you being an agricultural producer, with at least 50 percent of your gross income coming from agricultural operations and small businesses in eligible rural areas. None

Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC)

The Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) is a 26% federal tax credit available for home solar systems purchased and installed by the end of 2022. This is a large chunk of money taken off their personal income taxes. Plus, the ITC has done a great job expanding the country’s solar industry. It has helped create hundreds of thousands of jobs while bringing billions of dollars into the economy since being enacted in 2006.

Illinois Solar Property Tax Exemption

Illinois will exempt property taxes on the added value to your home that comes with installing a solar energy system.

Illinois Net Metering

Electricity companies in Illinois have all adopted net energy metering, which is a policy that ensures your solar panels will be connected to the public-utility power grid, and that surplus power created by your panels will be transferred to the grid. You can offset the cost of power drawn from the electricity grid as a result of net metering.

The minimum amount of compensation that you’ll receive is the avoided-cost rate, which is below the retail rate. While the policy specifics of net metering programs will vary among providers, it remains hugely beneficial for owners of solar energy systems.

Illinois Shines

This is a Solar Renewable Energy Credit (SREC) program that is often called the Adjustable Block Program. For every 1,000 kilowatt-hours produced by your solar panels, you will get one SREC. Your credits can then be sold to local power companies.

Illinois Solar for All

Low-income households are eligible to purchase solar panels with zero upfront costs. However, these households will pay a fee to the solar panel vendors for energy produced. To be eligible for this program, families must have a gross income under 80% of the area median income.

Multifamily buildings with two to four dwellings may be eligible as well if at least two dwellings within the building have occupants below 80% of the area median income. For multifamily buildings with more than five dwellings, at least half of the dwellings must have occupants with a gross income before 80% of the area median income.

In regard to the associated fees, solar power vendors cannot charge more than 50% of the value of the energy produced by your system, which means that you can expect savings as long as you qualify.

Commercial Illinois Solar Incentives

Solar Incentives for Nonprofits and Businesses in Illinois

ComEd offers nonresidential buildings a rebate of $250 for every kilowatt of solar energy capacity. This rebate maxes out at systems with capacities above 2,000 kW. Consequently, large systems can earn as much as $500,000 in incentives.

USDA REAP Grant

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has launched a program designed to increase investments in clean energy called the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). REAP helps agricultural producers and rural small businesses lower their energy costs and consumption by financing loans and grant funding to purchase and install renewable energy systems.

You are eligible to participate in the REAP program if you are an agricultural producer with at least 50 percent of your gross income coming from agricultural operations or a small business in eligible rural areas.

Key Takeaways: The Best Illinois Solar Incentives

Illinois is a great state to purchase solar energy systems. While it may not be the warmest or sunniest state, Illinois offers a variety of incentives to make it worth your while to invest in solar. There is really no reason not to buy a solar energy system, especially with variable energy prices around the world and climbing utility bills at home. If you are interested in purchasing, there are many great companies that will help get you set up.

Illinois Solar FAQ

Is solar worth it in Illinois?

Yes, you should definitely buy a solar energy system in Illinois. Solar can save you tons of money on your utility bills and help reduce your production of emissions and your carbon footprint. Plus, a variety of federal, state, and local financial incentives are available in Illinois to make the purchase of solar panels accessible to anyone!

How much will my electricity bill go down with solar in Illinois?

People living in Illinois save as much as $28,906 over a 20-year period. With a payback period of 6.75 years, you can be saving thousands of dollars per year in just over half a decade after purchasing your photovoltaic (PV) equipment.

How much does it cost for solar panels in Illinois?

The total cost of solar installations in Illinois ranges from $13,005 to $17,595, with an average gross cost of $15,300. On a cost-per-watt basis, solar panel installation in Illinois is $3.06. These costs have come down significantly in recent years. Obviously, if you purchase a larger system (more watts), you will end up spending more to gain additional energy production.

Can you get solar panels for free in Illinois?

No, you likely won’t be able to find free solar panels in the state of Illinois. However, residents of Illinois are lucky to have the support of a large variety of federal, state, and local financial incentives that will help to minimize the costs associated with purchasing a new solar energy system.

What solar rebates are available in Illinois?

There are many federal, state, and local financial incentives for purchasers of solar energy systems in Illinois. These include the federal government’s Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC), the Illinois Property Tax Exemption, and many local and private incentives.

How many homes in Illinois have solar panels?

There is enough solar installed in Illinois to power nearly one hundred thousand homes, and solar accounts for 0.50% of the state’s electricity production.

Do solar panels increase property taxes in Illinois?

No, your taxes won’t increase. This is because the state of Illinois will exempt property taxes on the added value to your home that comes with installing a solar energy system. The property tax exemption provides yet another excellent reason to invest in solar!

How much can you write off for solar panels on taxes in Illinois?

Illinois taxpayers can choose to write off lots of the costs associated with the purchase of new solar panel systems. For more information about incentive programs, check out the Illinois government’s website.

House Method’s Solar Companies Rating Methodology

At House Method, transparency and trust are our most important values for the reader. That’s why we took the time to create an objective rating system and score each solar energy company/service according to our methodology.

Our research team dug deep into the fine print of contracts, combed through more than one hundred customer reviews, and thoroughly investigated all of each solar energy company’s services, costs, and products. We’ve done the homework for you by researching nearly all of the solar energy companies on the market so you can have the information you need to make the best choice for your home.

We developed a formula to objectively determine the best solar energy companies and give each a score out of 100 based on the following criteria:

  • Plan Options (30): Do they provide a variety of plan options? We looked at the number of plans each solar energy company offered and the flexibility of adjusting the plan.
  • Services offered (20): How many services are offered in each plan? We looked at whether the company manufactures its own solar panels, whether it contracts out installation, and what additional products each company offers.
  • Trust (10): What do customers say after their solar panels are installed? Does this company offer a guarantee? We considered how satisfied customers are post-service if the company does what it says it will, BBB accreditation, and service guarantees.
  • Prices (10): How reasonable are the costs of the plan or service in comparison to the industry average? We compared the costs of each company to competitors that offer the same solar energy services.
  • Unique perks (10): Does the company offer discounts or special services such as financial incentives, rebates, or a useful mobile app? We looked for extras each company offers that set them apart from the competition.
  • Customer Service (10): How is the customer experience when contacting the company? We considered the speed of response, weekend/holiday availability, and ease of communication through phone calls, email, and online chat functions.
  • Nationwide availability (10): How many states does the company offer its services? Companies that operate nationally and in all zip codes are favored over those with limited availability.

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