Solar Panels
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Large Installations

The City of Chicago has made installing large rooftop solar PV systems (those generating greater than 13.44kw) easier than ever before, easing restrictions and streamlining processes, saving time and design costs. The City has updated the Sustainable Development Policy to include rooftop solar as an option. Visit the Sustainable Development page, click here to learn more.

Large Installations and Permit Process

Shaded regions represent stages in the process that were improved

  1. Select a properly licensed solar contractor with experience installing solar in Chicago and securing available incentive dollars. Certain contractors have been trained and qualified for the Department of Buildings self-certification process. The Self-certification process allows large solar systems to receive quicker review (<10 days) [click here to learn more about self certification].
  2. Design system and determine the expected energy generation (solar contractor)(Improved in 2013) 
    Per an Administrative Order issued in April 2013, national design standards are allowed in lieu of the Chicago Building Code for solar PV systems, enabling large systems to be designed more cost effectively. [click here to view the Order].
  3. Secure cash, any loans and rebates or other incentives. DSIRE Solar gives a good overview of available rebates and incentives in Illinois click here to learn more.
  4. Apply to the City of Chicago and ComEd for approval (solar contractor).
    Chicago’s Department of Buildings has published new guidelines that allow general contractors to clearly demonstrate safe design of solar systems on all Chicago building types [click here for the Photovoltaic Panel Permitting Guidelines]. The new City of Chicago Solar Zoning Policy [click here for the Solar Zoning Policy] gives clear guidance on how to design solar projects in accordance with the City’s zoning ordinance.
    Apply to ComEd for Interconnection and Net Metering. Learn more on ComEd's website.

    If your electricity is supplied through the City’s electricity aggregation program, contact Integrys Energy Services at http://www.integrysenergy.com/il-chicago or (888) 802-2885 to apply for net metering. If your electricity is provided by another alternative supplier, contact your supplier to apply.

  5. Have your system inspected by the Chicago Department of Buildings Once approved, notify ComEd. (solar contractor) (Improved in 2013) (Improved in 2013).
  6. Turn on your system and enjoy clean energy and lower electricity bills!