Solar IntegrationSolar Icon

Since 2011, residents and businesses have been adding solar throughout Will County at a pace fueled by incentives and lower costs for PV panels. This type of solar is active photovoltaics (originally designed for space in the 1950s) and it is in our:

  • calculators
  • at many PACE bus stations for lights
  • a few types of road signs
  • some street lights
  • as decorative lawn lights
  • on the roofs of homes
  • for energy production on roof the of some businesses
  • as educational and energy producers on roofs of schools
  • and possibly generating power to the grid on a select number of farm fields

Will County was recognized for encouraging this technology in 2017 by SolSmart. SolSmart is a national designation and technical assistance program that recognizes leading solar communities and empowers additional communities to expand their local solar markets.

If you want to learn what incentives and rebates are abiline in 2023, please click: INCENTIVES for 2023

2013 05  03 Solar House 01 001In the historic district of Joliet, there is a home that features both photovoltaics and thermal water heating solar. It is shown in detail on the Will County Green Facebook page and was profiled in a past Will County electronic newsletter.  The home installed solar panels for electricity on the south facing roof of the home and garage. The solar protruding up above the roof of the garage is for the hot water heating system.  This homeowner has stated that the initial investment paid for itself in less than three years.



IKEA Solar Roof 01

The IKEA store, in Bolingbrook, has the largest roof-top solar installation in Illinois and was also featured in the Will County Green electronic newsletter, as well as many local newspapers.  The solar panels installed at IKEA are photovolatics, designed to convert sunlight to direct current electricity. Inside, a converter transforms the DC power to Alternating Current to power the store.




solarValley View School District has taken the boldest step forward, installing roof top solar on five schools in 2017. The $5.27 million project is funded through a lease arrangement that will more than pay for itself in utility cost savings right from the beginning. Officials estimate over $9.2 million in cost savings over the next 25 years.  The solar panels carry a 25-year guarantee. When completed, the power generated through the solar panel arrays will provide more than half of the electricity usage in the five schools, including an estimated 72% at Ward and 70% at Humphrey. 

Click Here for more information on solar water heaters.


Solarize Chicagoland, was created in 2019, by two entities, Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA), and Citizens Utility Board (CUB). The Midwest Renewable Energy Association promotes renewable energy, and sustainable living through education and demonstration. Citizens Utility Board, is a non for profit entity that represents Illinois utility rate payers, and advocates for cheaper and cleaner energy. They have saved consumers more than $20 billion by fighting proposed electricity, natural gas, and telephone rate hikes. Citizens Utility Board is the main Partner of MREA, and they are responsible for the outreach for the Solarize Chicagoland Program.

The idea of Solarize Chicagoland, came from MREA. They have done multiple group buys, in neighboring states such as Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois. A group buy, is a program where a community or area are informed about a solar opportunity, where the an installer has been selected, and the residents “buy-in” the program, usually with benefits that they wouldn’t have received if they were going to go through the solar installation process themselves. Usually group buys have a cheaper rate.

In 2019, Solarize Chicagoland coordinated with four Illinois counties, Kane, Cook, DuPage and Will. Representatives from each county went out in public areas, such as restaurants and libraries to get word out on the program. In addition to the discount of signing into the group buy program, there are also other incentives to drive the cost of solar down, such as the Illinois State Renewable Energy Credits, the Federal Tax credit, and Net Metering credits.

The 2019 Solarize Chicagoland ended up being an unexpected and huge success! There were over 135 participants that signed contracts for the program, including 8 from Will County. Solarize Chicagoland’s newly-installed solar arrays will offset emissions equivalent to approximately 800,000 pounds of coal burned. Collectively, customers will also save an estimated $98,300 in electric bills in the first year alone. 

Although we are currently facing some unprecedented times with COVID-19, the 2020 Solarize Chicagoland Program is going full steam ahead. There were some delays and extensions with debate as to continue the program, as well as choosing an installer. More updates will be mentioned soon! Stay safe and healthy.

Please see our Green Guide Database - search solar for some solar business listings.

SEIA Fact Sheet

Additional Information Topics:

Solar Energy Is the Future; You Can’t Stop It

Free Solar Power Calculator

Harness The Power Of The Sun: The Complete Guide To Using Solar Energy

Planning a Home Solar Electric System

Adding Solar Panels to Your Home

How to Make Any Home Appliance Into a Solar Electric Hybrid

Solar Water Heater: Costs, Tips and Advice

How to Build a Solar Power Generator

Solar Swimming Pool Covers and Reels

Solar Basics for Kids

Historical Perspective

Passive solar energy was used since the time of the Egyptian civilization. In the 1970s there was interest in making solar a more common part of our home, school and business energy supply.  For a long time, the most common large solar application in homes was a solar water heating system.  This differs from the calculator on our desk because it generally reduces the energy needed to heat water but doesn't eliminate it. 

The 21st century has seen tremendous growth in solar across the globe. Solar installations are appearing on home and business roof tops and in farm fields to reduce and replace fossil fuel energy generation and save consumers money.  They work well in the Will County area and a number of reliable companies are available to assist you in identifying a business or home application that fits your needs.

Will County Land Use Department
Will County - Land Use Department - Resource Recovery & Energy
58 E. Clinton Street, Joliet, IL 60432

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