It is easier and more cost-effective to go solar than ever before! Here you will find trustworthy resources to explore solar options and payment plans that are best suited for you.
Seven Generations Ahead provides building assessments for on-site solar installations for interested parties. We also assist organizations by developing RFPs and gathering reputable project partners for many kinds of solar projects. We create support strategies to attain 100% renewable energy for institutions and organizations. Lastly, we implement solar energy education and subscription enrollment assistance for institutions and residents ready to go solar.
Not sure where to start? Learn how to get started right here. Contact Mark Burger, our solar consultant, about hosting one of our educational forums or to get answers to your specific questions.
Getting Started with Solar
Use Energy Sage’s solar calculator to explore options for your property and determine if your solar energy source can be on-site or off-site.
SGA helps non-profits, public sector, and businesses interested in building on-site solar PV systems. Contact Mark Burger for support with an initial assessment and procurement at no cost to you.
For larger power needs (i.e. hospitals, school districts, and municipalities):
- Large scale solar PV systems can be purchased outright. Find a trustworthy professional through the IL Solar Energy Association.
- If you do not have the budget to purchase:
- Arrange a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with an outside vendor. The vendor will develop, design, permit, finance and install the system. The vendor also takes care of maintenance. The energy is sold to you at a set rate as you use it.
- Leasing from an outside vendor is similar to a PPS, but with leasing you pay a set monthly fee for the energy.
NOTE: The PPA or leasing options do allow you to get federal or state tax credits. The company who installs the system receives those and is not required to pass on any of those savings. Also watch out for “cost escalators”. Companies sometimes include an automatic rate increase under the guise that it will match the normal utility increases.
For individuals with a residential site, there are a few different on-site options.
- First, you can purchase solar panels upfront. With this option, the customer both owns the system and has everything paid for right away. The owner can take full advantage of state and federal incentives as well. To search for residential solar panel installers based on location, visit the Illinois Solar Energy Association website.
- Another option is to take out a loan to pay for the solar panels. These loans allow you to pay for the solar PV system over time, while still having complete ownership of the system. With this option you can take advantage of state and federal incentives. More information on solar loans can be found through Energy Sage.
- If you want solar on your property, but don’t want to pay to install or maintain the system, there is also the option to lease the solar panels. More information on how solar leases work can be found on the Energy Sage website.
- If you are a low-to-moderate income household (under 80% Annual Median Income), you can participate in the Illinois Solar for All program. This program helps low-to-moderate income household install solar panels on-site with no upfront costs, lower ongoing costs, and additional consumer protections. For more information on the program and seeing if you qualify, visit the Illinois Solar for All website.
For any questions regarding the differences between types of homeowner plans, please refer to this guidebook from the Clean Energy States Alliance.