Frequently Asked Questions
We want going solar to be an easy, understandable decision for you. We realize you have questions, and here we are sharing some of the questions we are asked most frequently. If you have other questions or want to learn more, please contact us.
Is my home suitable for solar?
Most single family homes not excessively shaded by trees or other buildings are good candidates for solar. Ideal homes have south-facing or flat roofs, but east- and west-facing roofs will also work well. The best way to find out if your house is a good fit for solar is to get an expert opinion. Contact us for a free consultation about whether solar makes sense for you. We will provide a detailed assessment of the number of panels that match your roof, the amount of electricity you will generate, the upfront costs, and the incentives that will apply.
How big of a solar system should I install?
It depends on how much electricity you consume and the amount of that electricity you’d like your solar system to produce. The size of your roof will also impact the size of the solar system. We use “kilowatts” to measure the size of a system, and most single-family homes can produce 80-100% of the energy they consume with a system between 4 and 10 kilowatts.
Is Illinois sunny enough for solar?
Yes! Although Illinois doesn’t receive quite as much sunshine as, say, Arizona, the price of solar equipment has fallen so much in the past few years that solar is now a good investment here. Panel technology has also improved enough to maximize the energy generated by the available sunlight we receive in the Midwest. Other northern states, such as New York and Massachusetts, also have robust solar energy markets. Our detailed assessment will show exactly how much energy your home can generate with solar. And how much money you will save over time!
How much does a solar system cost?
The number of panels in a solar system is the biggest driver of cost. Systems with more panels are more expensive than systems with fewer panels. Most home solar systems end up costing between $12,000 to $30,000. However, federal and state incentives can cover over 60 percent of that cost. We also have affordable financing options available. We are happy to provide a free, no-pressure quote.
What incentives for solar are available in Illinois?
Both the federal government and Illinois provide incentives for home solar. The federal incentive is a tax credit worth 30% of the price of a solar system. With it, you reduce the income tax you would otherwise pay by this amount. Click here for more information on how to take the credit.
The Illinois solar incentive comes in the form of Solar Renewable Energy Credits (“SRECs”) that you earn with your system. Most Illinois utilities are required to purchase these from you (at prices set by the Illinois Power Agency) when you install your system. They are typically worth about 30% of the cost of a typical system. You should receive your SREC payment check within six months of installation.
How much money will I save by going solar?
The amount you will save depends on how much electricity you consume today, the size of the solar system, the utility from which you receive service, and several other factors. Without solar, the owner of a fairly typical Illinois single-family home can expect to pay about $30,000 over 20 years for electricity.
Given that a typical solar system would cost $10,000 after incentives, a homeowner could expect to save about $20,000 over 20 years by going solar.
Here’s another way to think about this: Assuming you have $10,000 to invest either in a solar system or some other investment, where would you put it? We’ve calculated that investing in solar is the equivalent of a taxable investment (such as the stock market) earning 14% returns per year for 20 or more years. For reference, the average S&P 500 stock market index return since 1928 is about 10%.
Want more detail? Our free assessment will give you real numbers on energy generation at your home, as well as the upfront installation costs and expected incentives.
How long does it take to install?
Once you decide to go solar, we do several things before we actually install the system. First, our engineer will visit your home to take precise measurements. Second, we will produce a package of drawings for your municipal government and get a building permit. Third, we will coordinate with your electric utility. All of this usually takes 30-60 days. Actual installation typically takes one to two days, weather permitting. We will schedule this on a day that is convenient for you.
Will solar panels damage my roof?
No. We guarantee our installations will not cause any leaks. At EcoHome Expert/Kanga Roof, we are experienced, professional roofers and warranty our work accordingly. Additionally, solar panel systems are covered by most homeowner’s insurance plans against damage from weather, etc.
Will my system include batteries?
Generally, no. Most home solar systems are designed to operate in conjunction with the electric grid. That way, if you happen to consume more power at any moment than the solar system is producing, you draw the excess power from the grid. Conversely, when your solar system produces more than you are consuming at that moment, the excess power will flow into the grid. Your utility will measure all of this and you will only be billed for the net amount you consume from the grid. Most of our customers pay little or no fees to their electric utility.
How long will your solar systems last?
Our equipment comes with a 25-year labor and materials warranty. Expected life is about 40 years. You should expect your solar system to reduce your utility bills and produce clean energy for many, many years into the future. Also, our customers have found a solar system is quite an advantage when selling their home.
What kind of maintenance is required?
Little to none. Solar systems are totally electronic and have no moving parts. Furthermore, we only sell equipment with 25-year warranties. If your panels get excessively dirty, it may make sense to clean them (which we can do for you), but this is not usually required.
Do you provide a warranty?
Yes! All of the equipment we install on your roof comes with a 25-year parts and labor warranty.
What areas do you serve?
We install solar in north and central Illinois, southern Wisconsin, and eastern Iowa.
What if I want to sell my home?
Research has found that solar panels increase home values. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (a unit of the U.S. Department of Energy) issued a report in 2015 showing that homes with solar sell for more than similar homes that do not have solar. In fact, they found that the increase in sale price was greater than the net cost of the solar system. Other research has reached the same conclusion: having a solar system increases your home’s value.