Solar Array

New Applicants: Due to the high interest in the Cook County Sun and Save Program, we are unable to take additional applications at this time. For anyone who would like to be added to the waitlist, please complete this form (https://forms.office.com/r/Naib60YfgG).  If more funding becomes available, we will use this waitlist to invite additional individuals to apply. 

Existing Applicants:  The Cook County Sun and Save program has had tremendous interest.  The Cook County Sun and Save team will provide a status update to everyone that has applied in the order that the applications were received. For applicants that have additional questions about a pending application, you may reach out to sunandsave@sedac.org

About Cook County Sun and Save

Income-eligible Cook County homeowners may qualify for a no-cost solar photovoltaic system with the Cook County Sun and Save Program!

Cook County Sun and Save installs solar photovoltaic systems at no cost for income-qualified residences and homeowners in Cook County. The goal of this program is to make solar installations more affordable and accessible to eligible Cook County residents.

Cook County Sun and Save fully covers the cost of residential solar system installations as well as some small and related roof and electrical repairs on income-eligible owner-occupied homes in Cook County that meet the program’s guidelines.

Benefits of solar panel installations for homeowners ultimately means the cost of utility bills will be lower over the lifetime of the solar system. This program also reduces barriers to clean energy for residents, reducing their energy burden and utility bills, as well as helping to reduce our region’s carbon emissions and mitigate climate change.

Cook County has partnered with the Smart Energy Design Assistance Center (SEDAC) to establish Cook County Sun and Save. Funding is provided by the American Rescue Plan Act.

Eligibility

Households that would like to participate in the Cook County Sun and Save Program must meet all the following requirements:

  • The property must be within the borders of Cook County.
  • The home receiving solar PV installation must be a single-family home, or small multi-family home with two, three, or four units in the building.
  • For all participating homes, the homeowner must live inside the home and be considered owner-occupied. For small multi-family homes of four units or less, the owner/property owner must also live in one of the units and the owner is required to be the primary applicant to Cook County Sun and Save. Rental income is included as part of household income.
  • The homeowner must have the legal authority to permit contractors to complete solar installation and related work on the property.
  • Household income must be between 80% and 120% Area Median Income (AMI). For example, a family of four that owns their own home in Cook County with a Household Gross Income between $89,700 and $134,520 in 2024 may qualify for the Cook County Sun and Save Program. The AMI is updated every year, and new limits will apply as they are published. An applicant’s income-verification check will remain on file with the Cook County Sun and Save program for one year from the date of application.

    Households with income levels that do not exceed 80% of the AMI are not eligible for the Cook County Sun and Save Program. These households qualify for Illinois Solar for All. Visit the Illinois Solar for All Residents page for more information.

    Area Median Income Chart for applicants submitting 2023 tax returns and current income.

*Please note that this is not a rebate program. Homes that already have solar panels do not qualify for Sun and Save.

Suitable Property Types

Qualified homes require a roof that is in good condition with at least 15 years of useful life left.

General requirements:

  • The roof must support the solar array.
  • The roof should have at least 15 years of useful life left.
  • The roof should be free from shading and other obstructions.
  • Most qualified homes will have a suitable electric panel; however, some projects may require electrical panel upgrades which the solar provider will identify during a site visit.

Application Process

Update: Please note that due to high interest in the Program, we are unable to take additional applications at this time. If you would like to be added to the waitlist, please complete this form (https://forms.office.com/r/Naib60YfgG).  If more funding becomes available, we will use this waitlist to invite additional individuals to apply. 

The application process is described here for your information, but no new applications are currently being accepted.

Income-eligible households may receive residential solar installations at no cost. Cook County Sun and Save asks for information about the household and property to make sure the home is eligible.

Application Process:

  1. Fill out an interest form. (https://forms.office.com/r/Naib60YfgG).  
  2. Cook County Sun and Save will e-mail the full application to the applicant in first-come-first-served order.
  3. Download and complete the application, then email it to sunandsave@sedac.org. Completion of an application does not guarantee eligibility for the program.
  4. Once the application is submitted, it will be reviewed by a Cook County Sun and Save program manager who will determine if the applicant is eligible.
  5. Once eligibility and other requirements are determined, the applicant will receive an email notice of conditional approval to move forward in the process to work with a Cook County Sun and Save Qualified Installer.  Note: Not all applicants will qualify.  Applicants who do not qualify will receive notice that their application has been declined.

My application is eligible. What should I do next?

When the application is reviewed and the household is notified about eligibility, the program team will then notify both the applicant and an assigned Qualified Installer to begin the solar site assessment process. The Qualified Installer will submit a quote for solar services to the Cook County Sun and Save team on behalf of the applicant.

The Cook County Sun and Save team will review project scopes to make sure the project meets all program requirements prior to installation approval. Work can NOT begin until the Cook County Sun and Save team approves the project. The applicant and Qualified installer will receive notification of approval.

After this approval, the applicant will also be contacted to complete a demographic survey that is required for federal and county reporting.

Cook County Sun and Save funds are provided directly to Qualified Installers on behalf of participating homeowners who are eligible.

Approved Qualified Installers

Windfree Solar*
http://www.windfree.us/

Ailey Solar Electric, Inc.
aileysolarelectric.com

Selenium Energy
Home – Selenium Solar Energy (selenium34.com)

After Installation is Complete

Though Cook County Sun and Save pays for the installation, it is important to remember that the Solar PV system is officially owned by the homeowner. The homeowner takes on all of the rights and responsibilities of PV system ownership after the PV system is installed by the approved solar installer. Homeowners are responsible for costs related to future maintenance or equipment replacement for items that are not covered under the solar contract’s warranty.

Cook County Sun and Save Availability

This is a limited time opportunity. Funds are available for solar installations starting fall 2023 through 2025, or when funds run out, whichever comes first.

Is this for real?

Yes, this program is for real! We are aware that people have good reasons to be cautious about solar offers that sound too good to be true, and that many marketing gimmicks exist for solar. If you are contacted or solicited by a vendor promoting Cook County Sun and Save and are unsure about whether you can trust the offer, please email us at sunandsave@sedac.org.

Questions

For questions about Sun and Save, please call 800.214.7954 or email sunandsave@sedac.org.