How much does it cost to instal solar panels in illinois?

National Average Range:
$16,500 - $20,100

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Updated: October 27, 2022

Reviewed by Adam Graham remodeling expert. Written by

To provide you with the most accurate and up-to-date cost figures, we gather information from a variety of pricing databases, licensed contractors, and industry experts.

While Illinois is not the sunniest state, averaging only 198 sunny days per year, this state has some of the best incentives to help homeowners take advantage of solar energy. Illinois currently sees electricity costs below the national average, but these costs have increased in recent years and are predicted to continue rising. Combined with the various programs Illinois has for its residents, this can make solar panels an attractive installation on many homes.

The state average cost to install solar panels in Illinois is $16,500 to $20,100, with most homeowners paying $18,300 for a 6 kW system using monocrystalline panels installed on a roof. This project's low cost is $5,500 for a 2 kW system using polycrystalline panels installed on a roof. The high cost is $53,000 for a 10 kW system using monocrystalline panels with a battery backup installed on a ground-mounted array.

Cost to Install Solar Panels in Illinois

Cost of Solar Panels in Illinois
National average cost$18,300
Average range$16,500-$20,100

Cost of Installing Solar Panels in Illinois by Type

Solar panels in Illinois can be installed in two ways - grid-tied and off-grid. The most common method in Illinois is grid-tied. Using this method, you remain connected to the main power grid so that you can still draw from the grid at night or during inclement weather. Illinois has many incentive programs for residents that require the system to remain grid-tied to be effective, such as SRECs and net metering.

However, it is also easy to go off-grid. This means you fully disconnect from the power grid and supply your own energy. For an off-grid installation, you need a much larger system and batteries to power your home at night or in inclement weather. You may also need a backup system, such as a generator or wind power. Because these systems are so much larger, they cost considerably more than grid-tied systems. Below are the average costs to install both systems in Illinois.

Cost to install a grid-tied and off-grid solar panel system in Illinois (mobile)

TypeAverage Cost (Installed)
Grid-Tied$16,500 - $20,100
Off-Grid$47,000 - $70,000

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Solar Panel Cost per Watt in Illinois

Solar panel costs are typically calculated by the watt. In Illinois, the average cost per watt is $2.75 to $3.35. Costs vary depending on your panel type, inverter type, location, and where you mount the panels. Each panel produces between 200 and 400 watts, so every system needs several panels. The larger the system, the more panels and the higher the cost. Below are the average costs for installing a solar panel system in Illinois based on varying system sizes.

Panels needed and cost to install a 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 12, 15, and 18 kW solar panel system in Illinois (mobile)

System SizePanels NeededAverage Cost (Installed)
2 kW5 - 8$5,500 - $6,700
3 kW8 - 12$8,250 - $10,050
4 kW10 - 16$11,000 - $13,400
5 kW13 - 20$13,750 - $16,750
6 kW15 - 24$16,500 - $20,100
7 kW18 - 28$19,250 - $23,450
8 kW20 - 32$22,000 - $26,800
10 kW25 - 40$27,500 - $33,500
12 kW30 - 48$33,000 - $40,200
15 kW38 - 60$41,250 - $50,250
18 kW45 - 72$49,500 - $60,300

Average Cost of Solar Panels in Illinois per Square Foot

While solar panels are not typically priced by the square foot, there is some correlation between your home size and system size. Solar panels in Illinois cost $5.50 to $26.80 per sq.ft. Larger homes typically have higher energy usage and needs. They may have more occupants, larger electrical systems, and more appliances than smaller homes. However, you could have higher-than-average or lower-than-average energy needs in a larger home. You may also use a smaller system to offset costs or a larger one to collect more Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs) to make more money off your system. This means you have a range of costs for each house size. Below are some of the most common costs associated with installing solar panels in Illinois based on your home size.

Cost to install a solar panel system for a 1,000, 1,500, 2,000, and 2,500 sq.ft. house in Illinois (mobile)

House SizeAverage Cost (Installed)
1,000 sq.ft.$5,500 - $26,800
1,500 sq.ft.$6,700 - $33,000
2,000 sq.ft.$11,000 - $33,500
2,500 sq.ft.$16,500 - $40,200

Solar Panel Cost in Illinois by Cell Type

Solar panels in Illinois can be found in three types - monocrystalline, polycrystalline, and thin-film. Monocrystalline is the most common, efficient, and expensive. It is made from whole silicon crystals and has a matte black appearance that can be very attractive on a roof. It works best in direct sunlight. The second most common panel in Illinois is polycrystalline. These panels are less efficient than monocrystalline but less costly. They have a bright blue color that can be less attractive to some homeowners.

The third type is fairly uncommon in Illinois for residential applications. This is thin-film, and it tends to be more efficient in indirect sunlight but less efficient than monocrystalline panels. They are also less costly. Below are the average costs to install solar panels in Illinois for a 6 kW system using the three panel types.

Cost to install polycrystalline, thin-film, and monocrystalline solar panels in Illinois (mobile)

Cell TypeAverage Cost (Installed)
Polycrystalline$15,000 - $19,000
Thin-Film$15,000 - $19,000
Monocrystalline$16,000 - $21,000

Labor Cost to Install Solar Panels in Illinois

The cost to install solar panels in Illinois ranges from $1.14 to $1.53 per watt. For a 6 kW system, this averages $6,840 to $9,180. Many factors impact labor for your solar panel installation, including the inverter type, whether you install the systems on the roof or ground, and your location. Costs in the Chicago area may be higher, while many areas in the southern parts may have lower costs because this part sees more sun and more installations, bringing costs down slightly. Below are the average labor costs for installing solar panels in Illinois based on the system size.

Labor cost to install a 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 10 kW solar panel system in Illinois (mobile)

System SizeAverage Labor Costs
2 kW$2,280 - $3,060
3 kW$3,420 - $4,590
4 kW$4,560 - $6,120
5 kW$5,700 - $7,650
6 kW$6,840 - $9,180
7 kW$7,980 - $10,710
8 kW$9,120 - $12,240
10 kW$11,400 - $15,300

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Which Direction Should Solar Panels Face in Illinois?

Whenever possible, your solar panels should be installed facing south or as much as possible. This ensures they get the most sunlight and produce the most energy. However, if your home does not face south, you can still get good energy production from the west or east. The only direction your solar panels should not face is to the north because they produce half the amount of electricity. For areas in the northern parts of Illinois, it becomes even more important to ensure your panels are as south-facing as possible because the northern parts do not see as much sun.

Cost of Installing Solar Panels in Illinois by Location

Solar panels in Illinois can take place in one of two areas - the roof and ground. The roof installation is the most common, where the panels are installed on your roof. This makes the installation easier because the wires do not need to travel far to connect to your home’s electrical panel.

However, if your roof cannot support the panels, your system is too large for your roof, or your home is not properly oriented for the best sun, you can install your panels on a ground-mounted array. These arrays are larger than those mounted on your roof and require more labor to install because the wires must be run underground to your home. A roof installation costs less than a ground installation if all other factors are equal. Below are the average costs for installing a 6 kW system in Illinois in both locations.

Cost to install solar panels on the roof and on the ground in Illinois (mobile)

System LocationAverage Costs (Installed)
Roof$16,500 - $20,100
Ground$19,600 - $24,500

Illinois Tax Credit for Solar Panels

Illinois does not have a state tax credit for solar panel installations. However, residents can qualify for the federal tax credit, which has been raised to 30% through 2033 by the Inflation Reduction Act. Illinois also has several other incentives for homeowners installing solar panels. These include rebates that may be available through your utility company, net metering, which gives you credits for energy that you return to the grid, and SRECs or Solar Renewable Energy Certificates, which allow you to sell credits based on the amount of solar energy you use.

The state also has a program called Illinois Solar Energy For All (ILSFA), which aids low-income households in obtaining solar panels. There are also non-profit organizations - one of which has been operating in Illinois since the 1970s, which can help educate consumers and find the right system for your needs, including the ISEA and the Citizens Utility Board.

Solar Inverter Cost by Type

You also need at least one solar inverter for your system to work. There are four common types of inverters in Illinois. The first is the more common string inverter. This inverter is more costly, but you usually only need one. In this system, solar panels are grouped in strings, and each string is connected to the inverter, which is generally installed someplace accessible like the basement. The drawback to this system is that if one panel in a string goes down, it can impact the rest.

Microinverters are one method to avoid this issue. These inverters attach directly to each panel, and you need one inverter per panel. So, you need 20 inverters if you have 20 panels. They have a lower cost per inverter than string inverters, but you need more of them, so they have a higher total cost. If a panel goes down, it does not impact the rest of this system.

Power optimizers can also be used with string inverters to help solve this issue. With power optimizers, you need one per panel, and they install on the panel. If one panel drops in output, the optimizers keep the rest of the string functioning properly. You need a battery inverter if you have a battery for your system. These are the most costly inverter types but are necessary for the batteries to store the energy for your home. Below are the average costs of each inverter.

Cost of a string, power optimizer, micro, and battery-based solar inverter in Illinois (mobile)

Inverter TypeAverage Costs (Materials Only)
Power Optimizer$125 - $150
Microinverter$150 - $215
String Inverter$1,000 - $2,000
Battery-Based$2,000 - $2,300

Cost to Run and Maintain Solar Panels in Illinois

Your solar panels do not need much daily maintenance, but they should be cleaned and inspected regularly to ensure they are working at peak efficiency. The cost to clean solar panels in Illinois is $300 to $400 per visit, with each visit taking 2 to 4 hours. During the cleaning, your panels are inspected to make sure they are working well, and any needed repairs can be made. You should clean your panels at least once yearly, but twice yearly may be necessary.

Tesla Solar Panels in Illinois

There are many options for solar panels and energy in Illinois. One provider that makes solar panels and shingles or roofing systems is Tesla. Both are options in Illinois. Tesla solar panels have costs in Illinois of $2.73 per watt for a starting cost, which is the average pricing for the state.

You can also invest in a Tesla Solar Roof, which covers your home in solar and inactive tiles. This can give your home a more subtle and attractive look rather than using panels on top of another roof. If you need a new roof and are considering solar, this can be a good option. Solar roofs in Illinois run between $40,000 to $75,000. Both systems can work with Tesla’s Powerwall batteries.

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Additional Considerations and Costs

  • Permits. Permits are required in Illinois to install solar panels. Speak to your local municipality for more information.
  • Licenses. Make sure your installer is licensed and insured before having them start work on your home.
  • Warranties. Solar panels may have different warranties, depending on the company and installation type. Speak to your installer about what warranties may be available for you.
  • HOAs. If you live in an HOA, they may have restrictions on the types of solar panels you can use and where they can be installed. Speak to your local association head for more information.
  • Environmental zoning. If you live in an area that has been zoned as environmentally sensitive, you may have additional permitting and inspections to install solar panels. Speak to your local municipality if you think this may impact you.
  • Home value. Solar panels generally raise the value of a home by around 4%, but this varies.
  • SRECs. Illinois offers a Solar Renewable Energy Certificate program that allows you to sell credits for the amount of solar energy you are expected to produce. Speak to your local utility company for more information.
  • Location. The area you install your panels in can impact the project cost. Solar panels in Chicago cost more than in other parts of the state, while most areas in the south have lower costs.


  • Is it worth it to go solar in Illinois?

Yes, the state offers numerous incentives to make solar affordable and worth investing in.

  • Will Illinois pay for solar panels?

No, but they have programs that help you pay for them or lower the cost to make them more affordable.

  • Do solar panels increase home value in Illinois?

Solar panels tend to increase home value by around 4%. This varies by area, however.

  • Does Illinois have a solar tax credit?

While the state has other incentives, it does not have a solar tax credit. Residents can take advantage of the Federal tax credit.

  • Is Tesla solar roof available in Illinois?

Yes, Tesla solar roofs are available in Illinois, and companies in the state can install them for you.