200 S. Hough Street  Barrington, IL 60010 | (847) 304-3400

Free Electricity!

Now that we have your attention, here’s how to get (almost) free electricity. Go solar.

If you own your home, you can consider putting solar panels on your roof. Solar installers are ready to provide a free quote. The Federal Government has added a very lucrative incentive to encourage you to make the leap to solar.

You can get a 30% tax credit on your next federal tax bill. That’s a tax credit – not a deduction. That’s 30% of the total cost to install your solar panels. And the state of Illinois will write you a check based on the size of your installation which could be as much as another 30% of the cost of the installation. Size is measured in KWhr (kilowatt hours). Your installer can explain all this during the quotation process.

A typical rooftop installation will cost anywhere from $20,000 to $30,000. If you have an electric or plug-in hybrid vehicle that you need to charge, you will probably need more panels which will increase the installation cost. The solar installer will review your electric usage for the last 12 months to determine the number of solar panels you will need. With your rooftop solar panels providing your home’s electricity, you are immune to rate hikes. And payback is typically 7-8 years. Your monthly bill will only include typical taxes and fees to maintain your connection to the grid which currently averages $14-16.00 per month.

Real estate appraisers advise that a rooftop solar installation will increase the value of your home by about 4% but does not increase your assessed value for property taxes. Lastly, and this is important: Illinois law prevents HOAs from preventing you from installing rooftop solar anywhere on your roof.  For example, your HOA cannot say “we don’t allow rooftop solar installations” or “we only allow rooftop solar on the back of your house”.

If you live in a home that is not conducive to a rooftop installation or you live in a multitenant building, you have an option to sign up for a community solar program that will reduce your monthly electric bill by 15-20% all at no upfront cost to you.  For more information on this option, go to Illinois Solar Education Association or Citizens Utility Board (CUB).