Income-eligible Cook County homeowners may qualify for a no-cost solar photovoltaic system with the Cook County Sun and Save Program!
About Cook County Sun and Save
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 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.
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 $88,250 and $132,360 in 2023 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 ate 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
*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
In general, qualified homes should have a roof that is in good condition with at least 15 years of useful life left. However, some projects may qualify for roof replacement depending on program funding levels. Funding for roof replacement is very limited. Contact Cook County Sun and Save at firstname.lastname@example.org if you think your home would require a new roof to support a solar PV system. 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.
- For ground mount installations, the area for installation must not be at risk of flooding, and the foundation for the ground-mount system must support the solar array.
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.
There are two customer paths for Cook County Sun and Save participation.
- Cook County Sun and Save applicants may contact any of the Qualified Installers listed below for program information and to start the application process. The application must be submitted and approved by Cook County Sun and Save before a solar assessment at the residence is performed.
- Applicants can complete and submit the Cook County Sun and Save application directly to the Sun and Save program. The applicant will receive a referral to the program’s Direct Installer if a Qualified Installer is not listed at the time of application.
Follow the steps below to complete and submit an application today.
- Download and complete the application, then email it to SunandSave@SEDAC.org. Completion of an application does not guarantee approval for the program.
- 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.
- 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.
- A solar site assessment will be performed by the applicant’s selected vendor.
- After the solar site assessment and project estimate are approved by Cook County Sun and Save, the Qualified Installer will begin installing the solar system on the applicant’s property.
- Cook County Sun and Save funds are provided directly to Qualified Installers on behalf of participating homeowners who are eligible.
Residents interested in participating in the Cook County Sun and Save program will need to complete an application by downloading it below. We recommend using a computer and not a tablet to download the application.
E-mail finished applications to email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
My application has been approved. What should I do next?
When the application is approved, the program team will notify the applicant that they can proceed with a solar site assessment from a Qualified Installer. 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.
Approved Qualified Installers
Ailey Solar Electric, Inc.
Home – Selenium Solar Energy (selenium34.com)
Greenlink Energy Solutions
*Windfree Solar is the Cook County Sun and Save Direct Installer. Customers may choose to work with any Approved Qualified Installer for the Cook County Sun and Save Program. Customers who do not select a solar installation company at the time of their application to the Cook County Sun and Save Program will be referred to the Direct Installer, Windfree Solar.
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.
For questions about Sun and Save, please call 800.214.7954 or email email@example.com.