Solar Energy

Getting Started with Solar

Welcome to the Village of Wilmette’s solar resource webpage. Wilmette is seeking ways to enhance the amount of solar energy installed in our community. This webpage represents a collection of solar resources and information for the community. Our community’s solar goals can be found in our Solar Statement.

For more information about the basics of solar energy please visit:

Residential Consumer Guide to Solar Power

How Solar Energy Works

Homeowner’s Guide to Going Solar

Policies and Processes

Refer to the Village of Wilmette’s solar permitting checklist for a complete list of required materials for a permit.

Solar Benefits

Solar energy uses a renewable energy source – the sun – and provides many benefits for individuals and the community. It improves environmental quality by reducing carbon emissions and air pollution, supports local solar companies in Illinois, saves money on energy costs as the price continues to drop from technological developments, and improves electric grid resilience during peak demand and other stresses to the system.

Solar Maps and Potential

Investigate your property’s solar potential by clicking here. You can also estimate the performance of potential PV projects using the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s PVWatts Calculator.

Finding a Contractor and Going Solar

Find a solar contractor (or two) to assess your home for solar energy and provide a bid. Certified practitioners can be found through the Illinois Solar Energy Association (ISEA) and NABCEP.

How to Choose a Qualified Solar Installer – key considerations from ISEA if you are thinking about installing solar on your property.

Consumer Solar Checklist ‐ a checklist for residential consumers considering solar energy from IREC, the Interstate Renewable Energy Council.

Clean Energy Consumer Bill of Rights – ensuring a positive consumer experience by addressing important issues from IREC, the Interstate Renewable Energy Council.

Solar Customer Resource Portal

Financing, Incentives, and Tax Exemptions

Typically solar installations are paid for through loans or cash, with Federal and State incentives available.

A Homeowner’s Guide to Solar Financing – learn about different financing options from CESA, the Clean Energy States Alliance.

Rooftop Solar Financing 101 – an informative short video from the GW Solar Institute explaining different solar financing options.

Solar Rights and Procedure

The Illinois Municipal Code states in Division 13 Zoning that municipalities have the following powers: (10) … to regulate or forbid any structure or activity which may hinder access to solar energy necessary for the proper functioning of a solar energy system, as defined in Section 1.2 of the Comprehensive Solar Energy Act of 1977 Illinois state law also prohibits a homeowners’ association or similar entity from preventing a homeowner from installing a solar energy system. Public Act 097‐0105 states: No deed restrictions, covenants, or similar binding agreements running with the land shall prohibit or have the effect of prohibiting a solar energy system from being installed on a building erected on a lot or parcel covered by the deed restrictions, covenants, or binding agreements, if the building is subject to a homeowners’ association, common interest community association, or condominium unit owners’ association.

More Useful Solar Information

Learn more about the Future Energy Jobs Act

Illinois Solar Energy Association (ISEA)

Homeowner Resources from ISEA

Citizens Utility Board

Community Solar