Best Solar Companies in Illinois

We compared 90 brands and chose the top solar energy companies

    • SunPower
      3.5(2,281)
    • Blue Raven Solar
      4.8(229)
    • Sunrun
      4.2(2,895)

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      Best Solar Companies in Illinois

      To choose our top picks for this guide, we compared popular solar companies on ratings and reviews, equipment options, warranties, availability and other factors. Read our full methodology for all the details. Our picks may be Authorized Partners who compensate us — this does not affect our recommendations or evaluations but may impact the order in which companies appear.

      Our top solar company picks

      1. SunPower
      2. Blue Raven Solar
      3. Sunrun
      4. Green Home Systems
      5. ShopSolar
      Why trust ConsumerAffairs?
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      The 5 best solar companies reviewed

      SunPower

      Buyer's Choice Award Winner
      Max. panel efficiency
      22.8%
      Payment options
      Cash, loan, lease
      Warranty
      25 years
      Year founded
      1985
      2x Award Winner
      Selected for having one of the highest satisfaction rates for Best Customer Service and Best for Installation

      SunPower is a national solar company with high-efficiency panel technology. We like that the SunVault storage battery is excellent for maximizing energy savings during peak rate times. But SunPower’s seamless process is what really sets it apart from other solar panel installers in Illinois.

      Local reps can evaluate your home energy needs, design a custom system, help secure any necessary permits and work out financing options. They typically work with local installers, and SunPower’s monitoring app lets you track the system’s performance once the project is complete.

      SunPower benefits

      • 35+ years of experience
      • Comprehensive 25-year warranty
      • Battery storage options
      • Ongoing support

      SunPower customers in Illinois (and elsewhere) often tell us about the company’s efficient installation process, like Abdulaziz in Lincolnwood: “I had a good experience with SunPower. Everything ran smoothly with the installation.”

      Nicole in Peoria appreciated that SunPower’s down-to-earth sales reps aren’t just focused on making the sale. “The way the SunPower salesman approached the process was wonderful,” she told us. “He made you feel like if you were his family member or friend, it was what he would recommend, but there was no pressure. Everyone I spoke with was also very friendly and helpful.”

      Nicole is also “obsessed” with SunPower’s app. “It's fun to see how much your home is using, and how much solar you've produced,” she told us.

      Another verified customer, Brenda in Georgetown, likes how reps clearly answered her questions and clarified everything.

      “They kept me informed the whole time,” she said. “They told me what they were doing as they put the stuff up, then they told me about the difference in the size of panels because they found they could use a larger panel to come up with the same expectations that they were looking at.”

      Some customers have had minor issues with system performance or billing calculations, but these were generally resolved quickly by SunPower's team.

      You also might run into delays in getting the system operational. Though, that might not be SunPower’s fault. For instance, Paul in Lake in the Hills had a great experience with the sales rep, project manager and installers, but was disappointed that it took 13 months to get the system operating because of permitting.

      “The one thing I did not expect was how long it would take to get all of the permits and necessary approvals, but I think that had more to do with the village and homeowners association than with SunPower,” he said.

      SunPower’s “Complete Confidence Warranty” covers your entire solar energy system for 25 years, including the panels, inverter, racking and monitoring. The company repairs or replaces equipment at no cost to you (including labor and shipping).

      Payment options

      • Cash: Get immediate ownership of the solar panel system by paying cash upfront.
      • Loans: Qualified customers can find reasonable rates with no money down. All financing approvals and processing happen through the mySunPower online portal.
      • Leases: Customers pay a monthly fee to use solar panels that SunPower owns. SunPower reimburses you if your solar system doesn’t perform as guaranteed. You can transfer the agreement to a new buyer if you sell your home.

      Blue Raven Solar

      Buyer's Choice Award Winner
      Max. panel efficiency
      Varies
      Payment options
      Cash, loan, lease, PPA
      Warranty
      25 years
      Year founded
      2014
      1x Award Winner
      Selected for having one of the highest satisfaction rates for Best for Installation

      Blue Raven installs top-tier solar panels and microinverters to maximize energy production. We like that the sleek, low-profile solar systems are designed to withstand variable climates.

      It also has a unique financing option that sets Blue Raven apart from other solar companies in Illinois. BluePower Plus+ combines aspects of a solar lease or power purchase agreement with the flexibility of solar panel ownership.

      This option lets you go solar with no upfront costs — a good deal if you want the benefits of clean energy without making a big initial investment. Plus, you aren’t affected when electricity rates increase over time.

      Blue Raven benefits

      • Sleek, durable systems 
      • $0 down financing options
      • Tier 1 solar equipment
      • 25-year warranty on all installations

      Blue Raven customers in Illinois say that reps are professional, installation crews are efficient, the equipment is top-notch, and, overall, it’s a good value for the price.

      One verified customer, Rose in McHenry, appreciated that Blue Raven achieved the aesthetic she was going for.

      “(The) technical crew was friendly and the solar panels look amazing! The panels are all one color including equipment, so they look uniform and great from all angles,” Rose said. “I was initially nervous about having them on the front of the house but they look great.”

      “What truly set them apart was not just their use of high-quality solar panels and Enphase microinverters, but their flexible payment options and, most importantly, their exceptional customer service,” according to Won in Hoffman Estates.

      “Each interaction, whether it was with their sales team or during the inspection process, was characterized by professionalism and a willingness to explain every detail,” Won added. “This was a stark contrast to experiences I had with other companies, where representatives often fell short in providing thorough explanations or inspectors conducted their work without offering any insight into what they were doing.”

      Blue Raven Solar gets positive feedback overall from customers in Illinois. However, we have heard some complaints about installation issues, including delays in turning on the system, from reviewers in other states.

      Blue Raven Solar provides a standard 25-year warranty. Storage battery warranties vary by manufacturer. The company offers the FranklinWH aPower battery (12-year warranty), SunPower SunVault (10-year warranty), Enphase IQ Battery 5P (15-year warranty) and Tesla Powerwall 2 (10-year warranty).

      Payment options

      • Cash: You can pay upfront and get immediate ownership of the solar panel system.
      • BluePower: This fixed monthly payment option lets you go solar without a significant upfront cost. There’s no prepayment penalty, and the plan is transferable to a new homeowner if you ever sell your house.
      • BluePower Plus+: Eligible customers can pay $0 upfront, get 18 months of free solar power and make fixed monthly payments after that. You own the system and are responsible for maintenance.
      Our pick for solar leases

      Sunrun

      Max. panel efficiency
      22%
      Payment options
      Cash, loan, lease
      Warranty
      25 years
      Year founded
      2007

      Sunrun is a leading full-service installer with battery storage options. It offers personalized residential solar panel system design throughout Illinois. The company starts by looking at your past electricity bills to estimate your energy needs, and then reps use a specialized computer tool to create the optimal solar system design for your roof.

      We like that Sunrun’s solar lease program lets you go solar without a huge upfront investment. There’s no initial charge for any solar equipment, installation or permitting. Sunrun owns the system, and you pay a fixed monthly fee to use it.

      Sunrun also stands out by offering roof leak warranties. Plus, its Brightbox battery storage system works with both Tesla Powerwall and LG Chem lithium-ion batteries.

      Sunrun benefits

      • Flexible payment options
      • Custom solar designs
      • Daily system monitoring
      • Solar storage battery and electric vehicle charging solutions

      Sunrun has a lot of happy customers in Illinois. Many tell us that the reps were helpful and the installation process was smooth. Customers like getting lower energy bills after installation is complete.

      “I felt the most comfortable with their maintenance program,” Alexander in Barrington, who is leasing solar panels from Sunrun, said. “As well as the fact that Sunrun is one of the larger companies, and I knew that they wouldn't go away anytime soon.”

      “SunRun, from the first day we spoke about solar, took the time to explain how it works very thoroughly. Our bills are easy to understand and an account rep is always available if we have a question,” Colleen in Chicago told us.

      Colleen added that she has a small house and saves about $30 to $50 each month since switching to solar. She likes the feeling of “helping the environment and not giving the electric company too much money.”

      Another verified customer, Nelson in Elgin, likes that “Sunrun is cheaper. And for the price, it's good.”

      Not all Sunrun customers are completely satisfied, typically because of installation delays. “The time frame of installing and getting the system up and running took two to three times as long as they promised,” according to a customer in Chicago.

      Sahil in North Aurora said that “the process with Sunrun took a long time …. There were a lot of moving pieces, and looking back, it was expected that it took that long; it just felt like it took longer than it should have.”

      Sahil also said communication could be improved for when you’ll start seeing your bill decrease: “A little articulation on how much you're expected to save would be better.”

      The Sunrun includes warranty coverage, system maintenance and a performance guarantee. The warranty covers workmanship and equipment for 10 years. The performance guarantee lasts 25 years. Leased systems typically come with free maintenance and repairs.

      Payment options

      • Monthly plan: You can lease Sunrun panels for $0 to little down. Then, you pay a fixed monthly payment for the term of your leasing contract, typically 25 years.
      • Full amount lease: You can prepay for up to 25 years of solar energy.
      Our pick for easy process
      Max. panel efficiency
      20%
      Payment options
      Cash, loan
      Warranty
      25 years
      Year founded
      2017

      Green Home Systems offers a wide range of solar energy solutions, from panels and inverters to batteries and additional accessories, from brands we trust, including Panasonic, Qcells and Enphase. You can also get Generac backup generators, IronRidge racking systems and Span Smart electrical panels.

      The process starts with a free quote. During the consultation, reps look at your property and analyze current electricity bills. Green Home Systems then designs a solar panel system to meet your household energy needs.

      Green Home Systems benefits

      • PERC (passivated emitter rear cell) technology
      • Financing available
      • Energy storage options
      • 25-year guarantee

      Happy customers tell us about smooth installations and significant savings on energy costs. “The product is awesome. The installer was awesome as well,” according to Richard in Knoxville.

      “I had a positive and problem-free experience with Green Home. They were hands-on. The signup process was easy,” James in Mokena said. “I also enjoy using their app and seeing the progress and the savings taking place.” James had a system outage in the beginning, but Green Home Systems got that resolved.

      “Green Home Systems could work on the communication gap,” according to Richard in Knoxville. Others have similar feedback.

      “For the most part, I've been happy,” Nathaniel in Metamora told us. “But there were a couple of issues after the system was installed. One was when they delivered our panels and nobody gave me a heads-up. I had to help the guy unload them from the truck because they had no plan to do that. That was not great. I was late picking up one of my kids because I was doing that.”

      Another customer, Michael in Aledo, said he didn’t learn about some financing programs until after making commitments.

      “Other than that, I was very satisfied with my experience,” he said. “With the solar power system, when you get your bills from the power company, they are substantially less. That's what you get into it for in the beginning and it appears to be accurate. Overall, we seem to have hooked up with a good company and it made it even more advantageous to save some money.”

      Green Home Systems provides a 25-year warranty on solar panels and inverters. Batteries come with a 10-year warranty.

      Payment options

      • Cash: You can pay for your solar energy system upfront, which gives you immediate ownership and potentially better long-term savings on electricity costs.
      • Loan: You can finance through a solar loan with annual percentage rates (APRs) starting at 0.99% (on approved credit).

      ShopSolar

      Buyer's Choice Award Winner
      Max. panel efficiency
      Varies
      Payment options
      Cash, loan
      Warranty
      Varies
      Year founded
      2018
      1x Award Winner
      Selected for having one of the highest satisfaction rates for Best Customer Service

      ShopSolar is an awesome place to buy solar equipment for do-it-yourself projects. It’s great if you need to install solar panels on homes, RVs or outbuildings. You can find new and used solar panels, solar storage batteries, inverters, charge controllers, cabling and hardware, mounts and racks — everything needed for an off-grid or hybrid setup.

      People like that ShopSolar has a nice selection of equipment, fast deliveries and good communication. The online company stocks brands like Panasonic, REC, Renogy, Canadian Solar and EcoFlow, plus it sells custom solar kits. Orders typically arrive within 10 business days.

      ShopSolar benefits

      • Free shipping
      • Price-match guarantee
      • 30-day return policy
      • Lifetime customer support

      ShopSolar gets good feedback on its helpful reps and easy shopping experience.

      “Their website is very simple. It was very easy to sign up for the services. The numbers were straightforward,” Kevin in Peoria said. “To me, it seems like one of the more reputable companies I've dealt with on the internet because they aren't pushy at all, but they make sure you know they're available.”

      Another verified buyer, Gary in Darien, told us, “The reps at ShopSolarKits were very knowledgeable. We called and asked a couple of questions. They steered us to what we would need versus what we wanted.”

      Some customers experienced problems with their purchases, such as damaged or faulty equipment, but ShopSolarKits generally resolved these issues with refunds or replacements.

      The important thing to keep in mind is that ShopSolar doesn’t offer professional installation services. It’s best to know a little about solar panels and electrical work. Otherwise, you might get frustrated with the process or install something incorrectly.

      » DIY SOLAR PANELS: Pros, cons and installation guide

      ShopSolar is an authorized distributor of all the brands it sells, so all solar equipment is covered by the individual manufacturers’ warranties. The company’s reps can help you contact the equipment manufacturer If you run into a warranty issue.

      Payment options

      • Online payments: ShopSolar accepts Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover, PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Pay, Venmo, Shop Pay and Diners Club International.
      • Financing: ShopSolar partners with Affirm on financing. Customers can make payments every two weeks or once a month for up to 36 months. Rates range from 0% to 36% APR.

      Illinois solar panel buyers guide

      If you've been thinking about going solar in Indiana but aren’t sure where to start, you’re not alone. Our team has talked to thousands of solar customers across the country — here’s what to expect and what to look out for.

      Key insights

      • A professional solar panel installation typically costs anywhere from $10,000 to $30,000 or more.
      • The federal solar tax credit is the most significant way to lower the cost of buying solar panels. However, not everyone is eligible, and it doesn’t apply if you lease the equipment.
      • The best solar companies have a few things in common: great reviews, transparent contracts, reliable equipment and solid warranties.

      Solar panel installation costs in Illinois

      For a professional residential installation, typical solar panel costs in Illinois are comparable to the national average (around $20,000). The size of your system plays a big role in how much it costs overall. Your total costs also depend on what installer you hire, whether or not you need a solar storage battery and other factors.

      How can I pay for solar panels?

      There are a few ways to pay for a residential solar energy system in Illinois. You have the option to pay the full cost upfront, but many people choose to finance their system through a solar loan.

      Leasing is cheaper upfront, but you’ll be disqualified from some of the best financial incentives, including the 30% federal solar tax credit. It could also (potentially) make it harder to sell your house.

      If you’re considering a solar loan or lease, always ask:

      • Is there a down payment?
      • How much will I pay per month?
      • Will my monthly payments increase, and if so, by how much?
      • Do you put a lien on my house?

      » COMPARE: Solar costs in other states

      Solar incentives available in Illinois

      The federal solar investment tax credit (ITC) is the most significant way to make installing panels more affordable. The ITC gives you a federal income tax credit equal to 30% of your system’s total cost, including equipment, labor and permits. It’s most helpful if you owe taxes in the year your solar panel becomes operational.

      The federal solar investment tax credit is not a rebate or a refund.

      Unlike some other states, Illinois doesn’t have many solar incentives for residential properties. There are grants and other incentives, but most are intended for nonresidential properties.

      » EXPLORE: Illinois solar incentives

      Net metering in Illinois

      Net metering lets Illinois homeowners with solar panels send their excess electricity to the local power grid in exchange for credits on future utility bills.

      Illinois began its net metering program in 2008. As part of this, major electric companies like Commonwealth Edison, Ameren Illinois and MidAmerican Energy must pay net metering credits to solar customers based on their excess energy.

      Under Illinois rules, solar systems up to 40 kilowatts (kW) get a 1-to-1 credit at the retail electric rate for any extra energy produced. If you produce more solar electricity than you use in a month, the credits roll over to offset future bills.

      For Commonwealth Edison customers, net metering can offset about 32% of annual consumption, according to the Office of the Illinois Attorney General. One ComEd customer, Tim in Bolingbrook, told us about major inconveniences due to billing errors and poor communication. The alternative to net metering is storing unused energy in a solar battery.

      How do I choose a solar company in Illinois?

      The best solar energy companies have a few things in common: experience, licensing and certifications, solid warranties and more. Here are some things to look for when comparing solar panel installers.

      • Long time in business: Look for companies with plenty of experience installing solar panels in Illinois. Local knowledge is valuable in navigating state-specific regulations and incentives.
      • Good local reviews: Research the company's track record and reputation. Look for positive customer reviews, ratings and testimonials.
      • Free consultations: Get multiple quotes from different solar companies to compare prices and services. Be cautious of companies that provide significantly lower quotes than others — this may indicate lower quality.
      • Comprehensive service: Choose a company that provides the services and products you want, like battery storage, EV chargers or a monitoring system to ensure optimal output. It’s also a smart idea to ask about critter guards.
      • Solid warranty: A reputable company should offer comprehensive warranties to protect your investment. Look for warranties that last at least 10 to 25 years.
      • Licensed, insured and certified: Ensure the company is appropriately licensed, insured and has NABCEP-certified installers. This protects you and shows the employees take their business seriously.
      • Transparent terms: Carefully review proposals and financials carefully, understand legal considerations and ask about maintenance before signing an agreement with any solar company. If you don’t understand something about the payment terms, warranty or ongoing services, ask.
      • Ongoing support: Quality solar panels last at least 25 to 30 years, so you want a company that’s still around if your system needs service after installation. Some of the newer, less reputable solar companies might not exist next year. Honest communication is essential before, during and after the installation process.

      » MORE: Tips for getting the best solar quotes

      Are solar panels worth it in Illinois?

      Going solar makes sense for a lot of people in Illinois. Like many homeowners, Donald in Mount Vernon said he went solar “to save money, and to help keep our power bill down, and to also help our environment.”

      The expensive installation costs are worth it when you consider the long-term savings on utility bills and ecological benefits. If you get a loan, it makes sense financially if your new solar loan payment is cheaper than your existing energy bill.

      “I think solar is a great way to go, helps create clean energy and protects the earth (and) also bring down the cost of electricity,” Wardell in Chicago said. “We need to get ahead of climate change and clean energy is a great way to start.”

      Even if you don’t completely eliminate your electric bill, you’ll likely pay less each month than you would through traditional utilities. For example, Kevin in Belvidere said that bills are down in the summer, but the solar panels don’t fully cover his energy needs in the winter. So, he’s not saving as much during those months. On the bright side, he is somewhat protected from energy cost increases in the future.

      We need to get ahead of climate change and clean energy is a great way to start.”
      — Wardell in Chicago

      In the best-case scenario, you work with a good solar panel installation company that can design a system to fully meet your energy needs all year.

      But it doesn’t work out for everybody. Jonathan in Winnebago was overall satisfied with his solar installation. “However, looking back on it, I'm not sure that I would do it again. I don't see any savings of anything substantial on our electric bill when the year is all said and done,” Jonathan told us. “The entire community gets a break on the electricity 'cause the city went with a deal. Now that we're locked in with solar, we don't have access to that.”

      » STILL NOT SURE? Solar energy pros and cons

      FAQ

      Can I get free solar panels in Illinois?

      We are not aware of any current programs that offer free solar panels in Illinois. However, you can get a lease with little to no upfront costs.

      » FREE SOLAR PANELS: Are they really free?

      What’s the difference between a solar broker and a solar installer?

      A solar broker is a middleman or intermediary who helps connect homeowners with solar installation companies. A solar installer specializes in designing, procuring and installing solar panels and related components.

      Ultimately, deciding between a solar broker and a solar installer depends on how much you want to be involved in the process. A broker can be helpful if you value convenience. If you want more control and potentially lower costs, it’s best to work directly with a solar installer.

      Should I replace my roof before installing solar panels?

      As a rule of thumb, consider fixing your roof before installing solar panels if it’s more than 10 years old. Installing solar panels on an old roof might mean you have to remove the panels, replace your roof and then reinstall the panels again. This will cost around $5,000 for a 19-panel setup.

      » SHOULD YOU: Replace your roof before going solar?

      Read Illinois solar company reviews

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      Find a Solar Energy partner near you.

        Methodology: How we picked the best solar companies in Illinois

        The ConsumerAffairs Research Team objectively evaluates solar providers to highlight those best equipped to meet most homeowners' needs. To choose our top picks for this guide, we started with 31 popular providers. First, we narrowed it down to the ones available in Illinois. We then weighted several key features to get our final rankings:

        Reviews, ratings and testimonials: 40%
        We analyzed verified customer reviews and ratings to gauge real-world satisfaction.

        Overall reputation: 20%
        We considered each company's history, mission and value. Companies with generally positive feedback on our site scored highest in this aspect.

        Warranties: 20%
        A long warranty is important. We compared both product and craftsmanship warranties available from our top picks. All of our top picks have warranties of at least 25 years.

        Equipment selection: 10%
        We evaluated each company’s selection of solar panels, storage batteries and inverters. Those with proprietary technology or a wide equipment selection from trusted brands ranked highest.

        Monitoring and maintenance: 10%
        We gave preference to companies that offer real-time monitoring, regular maintenance services and solid after-sales support.

        To recap, our top picks for the best solar companies in Illinois:

        • Our pick for customer support: SunPower
        • Our pick for low upfront costs: Blue Raven Solar
        • Our pick for solar leases: Sunrun
        • Our pick for an easy process: Green Home Systems
        • Our pick for DIY projects: ShopSolar

        Guide sources

        ConsumerAffairs writers primarily rely on government data, industry experts and original research from other reputable publications to inform their work. Specific sources for this article include:

        1. DSIRE, “Illinois Solar Programs.” Accessed Jan. 17, 2024.
        2. EnergySage, “Illinois solar panels: local pricing and installation data.” Accessed Jan. 17, 2024.
        3. Illinois Attorney General, “Net Metering and Interconnection.” Accessed Jan. 17, 2024.
        4. Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, “Homeowner’s Guide to the Federal Tax Credit for Solar Photovoltaics.” Accessed Jan. 17, 2024.
        5. Solar Energy Industries Association, “Illinois Solar.” Accessed Jan. 17, 2024.

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